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Difference between MRI and PET Scan

Difference between MRI and PET Scan

Both an MRI and PET scan are medical tests that help doctors diagnose problems, but they are used for different reasons. An MRI uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the inside of your body. A PET scan is a type of nuclear medicine test that uses a small amount of radioactive material to help measure the function and location of organs in your body. Your doctor may order one or both tests based on your symptoms. Here’s a closer look at each one.

What is MRI Scan?

MRI scans use strong magnetic fields and radio waves to create detailed images of the inside of your body. MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. An MRI scan can be used to look at any part of your body, but it’s especially useful for looking at the brain, spine, and joints. MRI scans are very safe and don’t use ionizing radiation (x-rays). MRI scans are sometimes called NMRI (nuclear magnetic resonance imaging), due to the original technology used. MRI scans are a type of medical imaging. They create detailed pictures of the inside of your body without using X-rays or other types of radiation.

MRI scans are used to diagnose a wide variety of conditions, from torn ligaments to brain tumors. MRI scans are also used to guide biopsies, in which a small sample of tissue is removed for testing. MRI scans are painless and don’t involve any discomfort. You may feel a bit claustrophobic when you’re in the MRI scanner, as it’s a tight space. If you’re anxious about this, you can ask for sedation during your MRI scan. The MRI scanner is a large machine with a tunnel in the middle. You lie on a narrow bed that’s pushed into the tunnel.

What is PET Scan?

PET scans are a type of imaging test that helps to show how your organs and tissues are functioning. The test uses a small amount of radioactive material, which is injected into your body. The radioactive material collects in areas of high metabolisms, such as cancerous tumors. PET scans can be used to detect cancer, heart problems, and neurological disorders. The images produced by the scan can help doctors to plan treatment and track the progress of diseases. PET scans are usually performed in conjunction with CT or MRI scans.

Difference between MRI and PET Scan

MRI and PET scans are both important tools for diagnosing medical conditions. MRI uses magnetic resonance imaging to create detailed images of the body, while PET scans use positron emission tomography to create images of how the body is functioning. MRI is typically used to assess damage to the brain or spinal cord, while PET scans are typically used to assess how well the brain is functioning. MRI is more expensive than PET scan. MRI does not require exposure to radiation, while PET scan does. MRI can take longer than a PET scan. MRI can be uncomfortable for people with claustrophobia. MRI can be less available than PET scan in some areas. MRI usually requires a referral from a doctor, while PET scan does not.


MRI and PET scans are two of the most common medical imaging procedures. They both use different types of energy to create images of the body, but they serve different purposes. If you’re scheduled for one or the other, you should understand the difference so that you can be better prepared for your appointment and know what to expect.

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