Brain Imaging Guide – Is It Better to Go for MRI Scan or CT Scan? How to Decide?

There are several factors that determine whether a CT scan or MRI scans can be suitable for the imaging needs. Some of the top considerations include body parts that need to be examined, size, age, ability to remain still in enclosed space, as well as cost of the overall procedure.

The Neuroquant MRI Procedure by Intermountain Medical Imagingoffers many benefits. However, the individual first must know the basic differences between MRI and CT scans along with both of their aspects and benefits. So here, let us explore more information about both of these procedures in the following section and know what the factors are that must be kept in mind while deciding the right choice among the two of them.

Specific needs of patient

CT scan is usually quick as compared to MRI, so the image from the patients that are anxious, restless, or claustrophobic can be more easily acquirable through CT. It is even right choice for patients or individuals having implanted medical devices like vascular clips, pacemakers, or other such ferromagnetic objects for whom the MRI scan may not be safely performed.


In emergency scenarios, CT scan can be a good option. This is because it can be completed in just 5 minutes. On the other hand, MRI scan may take from 10 minutes to even 2 hours depending on the images sought.


Generally, in all of the imaging processes, exposure to radiation is quite small. CT imaging normally makes use of X-rays. On the other hand, MRI uses radio waves and magnetic fields for getting images without causing any biological damage. Although allergic reaction might be rare in CT scanning, it can get higher than with MRI contrast agent. Your doctor or health care provider can perform creatinine test for assessing the kidney function before imaging procedure.

Top benefits of MRI scan

  • MRI contrast agents usually have much lesser risk of causing lethal allergic reactions.
  • MRI doesn’t make use of ionizing radiation. That is why it is preferable over CT especially in children as well as patients that need multiple imaging examinations.
  • It allows evaluation of the structures that might be obscured by the artifacts from bone in the CT images.
  • This kind of scanning can easily be performed in imaging plant without the need to physically move the person or patient.

Top benefits of CT scan

  • CT is quite less sensitive to the motion of patient during examination since the imaging is done very fast.
  • It can be quite easier to perform in heavy or claustrophobic patients.
  • It offers detailed evaluation of the cortical bone.
  • It allows accurate detection of the metal foreign bodies.
  • CT scan can be acquired at lower cost as compared to MRI.

The above information will surely help you make a right choice. However, make sure to consult your health care provider if you have any doubt regarding what type of imaging can be best for you.