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CT Scanners & MRI Machines – Which Is Better

May 20, 2021 | Articles, General Imaging

In some medical cases, doctors require to see within a patient’s body for more accuracy and proper diagnosis. This can be done through specific technologies, such as Computed Tomography (CT) scanners or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines. 

CT and MRI scanners are diagnostic imaging tools. What sets them apart? 


CTs and MRIs

The basic purpose of a CT and an MRI are the same, but there are major differences between the two. 

CT scanners use x-ray technology to capture images of internal organs and structures. They work by focusing a narrow beam of X-rays at the patient, which are then rotated around the patient’s body to generate tomographic images. 

Tomographic images, which are cross-sectioned images, are more detailed compared to a conventional X-ray machine. The images produced from a CT scan are combined by the computer to create a 3D image, making it easier for the doctor to identify abnormalities in the patient’s internal organs or structures. 

Unlike CT scanners, MRIs don’t use X-rays to record diagnostic images; they use high-powered magnets. Similar to a CT scanner, the patient should lie on their back and go in through a tube-like opening into the machine. 

Inside, a strong magnetic field is produced while radio waves are directed at the patient’s body. The magnetic field will trigger the body’s water molecules in the body to be aligned; therefore, this will cause the protons inside of the water molecules to absorb the energy produced by the magnetic field. As a result, the spin of the protons will be flipped. Once the magnetic field is shut off, the protons will return to their normal spin, which will produce a radio signal that the scanner will measure to form an image. 



The cost is an essential factor when it comes to choosing between CT scanners and MRI machines. For one, there are various types of MRI machines and can be equipped with different sizes of magnets. The bigger the magnet is, the more expensive it will be! CT scanners are more affordable compared to MRI machines because the latter involves pricier equipment and more advanced technology. Fortunately, there are refurbished CT scanners and MRI scanners you can consider. 

Another factor that affects the cost of these machines is the installation. You should also consider the initial and ongoing costs to the hospital and what each machine can cost your patients. 


Which is Better?

When choosing between a CT scanner and an MRI machine, you need to determine its purpose in your facility. With that, you need to identify the types of patients that come to your facility. 

CT scanners can capture diagnostic images of the patient in five minutes, while MRI machines take longer to scan. Emergency rooms commonly use CT scans due to its fast results. MRIs, on the other hand, are often used for cardio and neuro cases.

Both machines have their pros and cons, but your diagnostic imaging need is the biggest factor you should consider. CT scanners and MRI machines are effective solutions to diagnostic imaging needs. 

DirectMed Parts offers MRI and CT parts. We are the most trusted and knowledgeable source for medical imaging parts and services. Contact us today!


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