A Look INSIDE
CT and MRI Explained
Each year, millions of patients in the American health care system will undergo a computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) diagnostic exam, many of them apprehensive, frightened, or simply unsure about what these tests involve.
The imaging process is vital in the diagnosis of many diseases because it gives physicians the extraordinary capability to see details in the human body that may result in earlier and more accurate diagnoses and a broader range of treatment options for patients.
“CT and MRI exams are two critical, non-invasive tools in analyzing potential disease, allowing us to look inside the patient,” said AAMC radiologist Timothy S. Eckel, M.D., of Annapolis Radiology Associates. “But it’s important for our patients to know why their physician has ordered one exam over the other, and how the exams work. CT and MRI exams provide us images in very different ways.”
The CT scan
A CT scanner uses a single beam of x-radiation to create a cross-section picture of the body. A computer processes the results in two- or three-dimensional pictures shown on a monitor. It is used to diagnose acute brain disorders such as a hemorrhage or stroke as well as to examine the lungs, bowel, abdominal organs and bones. The scanner looks like a large doughnut. During the scan the patient lies on a table that moves slowly forward while the scanner takes pictures of the body part to be examined. The beam rotates around the patient as the patient and the table move through the scanner.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
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