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CT Scans, MRIs, and X-Rays – What’s the Difference Between Them

Apr 23, 2021 | Articles, General Imaging

The human body is a complex, highly organized structure made up of trillions of cells—which is why it took centuries to answer the many mysteries surrounding man. It may have taken a long time, but finally, doctors are equipped with sufficient knowledge to identify various medical conditions and figure out which kind of treatment is needed for those conditions.

Medical advancements have indeed helped lengthen man’s average lifespan and have aided in diagnosing and caring for many different health complications. Among the many medical technologies developed over the decades, diagnostic imaging continues to be a necessary element in medical practice.


The Significance of Diagnostic Imaging

Medical imaging has made it possible for practitioners and scientists to learn more about the body. Diagnostic imaging has also greatly helped doctors confirm a diagnosis, determine the cause of an injury or illness, and see how well the body responds to the treatment without the need for an invasive procedure.


The Three Types of Diagnostic Imaging

There are many medical imaging tests available for different purposes. Some require the patient to remain still inside a machine, while other tests require a small amount of radiation exposure. As a medical practitioner, it is crucial to know what kind of imaging device to use to diagnose the patient correctly or track their treatment progress.

Read our guide below to learn more about the three most popular types of diagnostic imaging services:



The X-ray is one of—if not the most—well-known and widely available diagnostic imaging services. 

Just as with most diagnostic equipment, doctors make use of X-ray equipment to view the inside of the body as well. X-ray machines generate a high-energy beam that dense tissue and bones can’t absorb, which produces an image that allows the doctor to see the condition of the skeletal system.

Compared to more sophisticated techniques, X-rays don’t show as much detail, but they are still used to evaluate orthopedic problems.


Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

MRIs use a powerful magnet to obtain an image of the patient’s body. The protons in the body will react to the magnetic energy and create high-resolution pictures of the body’s structure, which includes soft tissues, nerves, and blood vessels. This imaging device helps spot sports injuries and musculoskeletal conditions.

During the procedure, the patient is required to lie motionless on a table that slides into the tube-shaped MRI scanner. As long as they don’t have any magnetic items attached to their body, the patient won’t feel any pain. 

An MRI exam usually takes about 30 to 60 minutes to complete.


Computed Tomography (CT)

Also referred to as a “cat scan,” a CT scan combines x-rays with computer technology to produce a detailed image. Through the CT scan, you’ll be able to see the size, shape, and position of structures deep within the body, such as organs, tissues, or tumors. 

Like an MRI scan, the patient must also lie still on a table that slides into the cylinder-like CT scanner. An x-ray tube slowly rotates around the body to take 360-degree views. The high level of detail allows doctors to quickly make medical decisions based on the pictures produced.



Diagnostic imaging is truly an impactful medical development that has forever changed the way illnesses and health conditions are diagnosed. To keep your medical imaging devices working correctly, make sure to check your x-ray, CT, and MRI parts regularly.

Get your CT and MRI parts from the most trusted and knowledgeable source for medical imaging parts and services, DirectMed Parts! Specializing in CT and MRI parts and coils, we understand the importance of working with service professionals to quickly and accurately deliver quality parts to the customer site. Connect with us to learn more about how we can help!

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