Magnetic Resonance Imaging

High Field (1.5T) MRI

A computer screen showing an image of PET scan results
What are MRIs?

Using radio waves and magnets, MRIs are used to view objects inside your body.

They’re frequently used to diagnose issues with your:

A constant magnetic field and radio frequencies bounce off of the fat and water molecules in your body. Radio waves are transmitted to a receiver in the machine which is translated into an image of the body that can be used to diagnose issues.

An MRI is a loud machine. Typically, you’ll be offered earplugs or headphones to make the noise more bearable.

You’ll also be asked to lie still while the MRI is taking place.

CT scan vs. MRI

CT scans are more widely used than MRIs and are typically less expensive.

MRIs, however, are thought to be superior in regards to the detail of the image. The most notable difference is that CT scans use X-rays while MRIs do not.

Other differences between MRI and CT scans include their risks and benefits:


Both CT scans and MRIs pose some risks when used. The risks are based on the type of imaging as well as how the imaging is performed.

CT scan risks include:

  • harm to unborn babies
  • a very small dose of radiation
  • a potential reaction to the use of dyes

MRI risks include:

  • possible reactions to metals due to magnets
  • loud noises from the machine causing hearing issues
  • increase in body temperature during long MRIs
  • claustrophobia

You should consult a doctor prior to an MRI if you have implants including:


Both MRIs and CT scans can view internal body structures. However, a CT scan is faster and can provide pictures of tissues, organs, and skeletal structure.

An MRI is highly adept at capturing images that help doctors determine if there are abnormal tissues within the body. MRIs are more detailed in their images.


While there are more risks associated with MRI scans, both CT scans and MRI scans are relatively low risk. Both offer important information to help your doctor properly diagnose specific conditions.

Most likely, your doctor will tell you which one they recommend. Be sure to ask questions and discuss any concerns with your doctor, so you can be comfortable with the choice they recommend.