CT(computed tomography) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans are two of the most common imaging tests used to detect medical disorders in the body. And although both scans are similar in many ways, they use different techniques to produce their result.

While a CT scan uses multiple x-rays, taken at different angles, to produce cross-sectional imaging, an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) uses magnetic fields and radio frequencies.

Because of their different techniques, the answer to which imaging modality is better for the brain depends on the examination’s purpose.

Why one might need a CT or MRI scan of their brain

Brain scans produce detailed images of the brain. They are helpful in helping doctors detect and diagnose conditions, such as tumours, causes of a stroke, or vascular dementia.

Deciding which to go for

The choice of which scan is appropriate for a patient depends on several factors, such as how quickly it is necessary to obtain the scan, the part of the head to be examined, and the patient’s age, among other considerations.

Human head scan, x-ray.

Other differences to note between the two scans that a doctor considers before making a recommendation of one over the other include:

1.A CT takes lesser time to conduct, making it the best in cases of trauma and other acute neurological emergencies.MRI is best when the images need to be very detailed, e.g, when  looking for cancer, causes of dementia, neurological diseases, or looking at places where bones might interfere.
2.CT is cheaper than MRI and less sensitive to patient motion making it the better choice for claustrophobic or overweight patients.MRI does not use ionizing radiation, making it the preference for children and patients requiring multiple imaging examinations.
3.CT allows accurate detection of calcification and metal foreign bodies.MRI has a much greater range of available soft tissue contrast and depicts anatomy in greater detail.
4.CT poses no risk to the patient with implantable medical devices, such as cardiac pacemakers, ferromagnetic vascular clips, e.t.c.MRI can pose a risk heating to patients with implants, and obscure information.

Preparing for your scan

There is no special preparation for both scans beyond the fact that you’ll need to remove anything that contains metal, including jewellery and hairpins, on you. Also, you’ll need to keep still during the scan so that the images come out clear.

Note: A dye may be injected into you if conducting an MRI. The dye allows the MRI scanner to see your brain in detail.

Does any of the scans put me at risk?



CT VS MRI SCAN – WHICH IS BEST FOR YOUR BRAIN IMAGING NEEDS? scans are safe medical procedures. And although CT exposes you to radiation, the scanners are designed not to expose you to very high radiation levels. Also, your doctor will always weigh the benefits and risks of a CT scan before advising you to have one.

How to book your scan

To book your MRI or CT scans with us, please send us a message here,

or walk into any of our health centres near you.