Wellness & Education

CT Scan vs MRI – What’s the Difference?  

If you’ve ever had a CT scan or MRI done, it’s easy to realize that these two tests are very different, even from the patient’s point of view.

  • An MRI is done with a machine that makes a lot of noise (Patients are typically offered ear protection and music) and a CT scan does not.
  • An MRI takes from 25 to 40 minutes.
  • A CT Scan takes about 5 minutes. An MRI is much more expensive than a CT Scan.   

There are also technical differences between an MRI and a CT scan. A CT scan creates images using a computer that processes multiple x-ray images. An MRI uses magnetic resonance imaging that involves radio waves. It also creates multiple images. 

The images or pictures created by a CT scan look different than the images created by an MRI.

Since an MRI involves the use of magnets, patients with pacemakers and some types of cochlear implants cannot receive an MRI.  

Your healthcare provider will choose between a CT scan and an MRI based on what type of body part or healthcare condition needs to be seen.