A CT Scan (or CAT Scan) is best suited for viewing bone injuries, diagnosing lung and chest problems, and detecting cancers. An MRI is suited for examining soft tissues in ligament and tendon injuries, spinal cord injuries, brain tumors, etc. CT scans are implemented in emergency rooms and the scan can take fewer than 5 minutes. An MRI, on the other hand, can take up to 30 minutes.
Advantages of MRI over CT Scan
A CAT scan uses X rays to build up a picture. An MRI uses a magnetic field to do the same and has no known side effects related to radiation exposure.
MRI gives higher detail in soft tissues
Another advantage of MRI is the ability to change the imaging plane without moving the patient.
Advantages of CT Scan over MRI
CT is best for imaging bone structures
An MRI is contraindicated for patients with surgical clips, metallic fragments, cardiac monitors or pacemakers cannot receive an MRI.
Treatment time is shorter than an MRI
MRI cannot be done on claustrophobic patients as the patient has to remain inside a noisy machine for up to 45 minutes
CT scans are less expensive than an MRI. A CT scan costs $1,200 to $3,200; while an MRI can cost upwards of $4,000.
These machines can cost from several hundred thousand to millions of dollars – which explains why treatments are so expensive. A basic CT scan can cost between $ 85,000 to $150,000. A 16-slice scanner costs $145,000 to $225,000 and the top-of-the-line 64-slice CTs can cost up to $450,000. The machines may typically need annual maintenance, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars.