MRI scans use a combination of magnets and radiowaves to capture detailed images from inside your body. They can take from 20 minutes to an hour and a half to complete. CT scans record clear 3D images to help medical professionals decide your best course of treatment. They usually take about 20 minutes.
Both scan types can help identify problems that normal X-rays or ultrasounds cannot pick up. This can be useful for finding the reason for your pain, stiffness, swelling or sudden weight loss.
What will happen during the scan?
Similar to an MRI scan, during a CT scan, you’ll be asked to lie very still on a scanner table. The table slides into or out of a CT scanner ring. The table will be positioned so that the part of your body that needs to be scanned is in the centre of the scanner. You may be asked to hold your breath or not to swallow at certain points during your scan. A dye called contrast medium may be used to make your tissues show up more clearly on the images produced by the scan.
How CT and MRI scans can help meet your needs
The MRI scanner uses an extremely strong magnet, so people with certain types of metal implants cannot be scanned.