Exploring the Brain: Is CT or MRI Better for Brain Imaging?

by Christopher P. Hess, M.D., PH.D. on April 11, 2012

The following article was written by Christopher P. Hess, M.D., Ph.D, and Derk Purcell, M.D, Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging at UCSF.

The complexity of the organ that determines how a person thinks, moves, feels, and remembers is overshadowed only by its unique vulnerability. The brain is hidden from direct view by the skull, which not only shields it from injury but also hinders the study of its function in both health and disease. The cells in the arteries that supply the brain are so tightly bound that even most normal cells in the bloodstream are prevented from crossing the so-called “blood-brain barrier,” thereby rendering the normal chemistry of the brain invisible to the routine laboratory blood tests that are often used to evaluate the heart, liver or kidneys.

Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have revolutionized the study of the brain by allowing doctors and researchers to look at the brain noninvasively. These diagnostic imaging techniques have allowed for the first time the noninvasive evaluation of brain structure, allowing doctors to infer causes of abnormal function due to different diseases.
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The answer to which imaging modality is better for imaging the brain is dependent on the purpose of the examination. CT and MRI are complementary techniques, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. The choice of which examination is appropriate depends upon how quickly it is necessary to obtain the scan, what part of the head is being examined, and the age of the patient, among other considerations. All imaging studies that are not performed for research should be obtained in close consultation with a physician. Both techniques are designed to examine specific problems. The utility of “screening” CT or MRI, in which a scan is obtained in a healthy patient without any symptoms to look for a brain tumor or any other condition, has not been established.

The advantages of each modality listed below serve as general guidelines that doctors use to decide between head CT and MRI:

Advantages of head CT

  • CT is much faster than MRI, making it the study of choice in cases of trauma and other acute neurological emergencies
  • CT can be obtained at considerably less cost than MRI, and is sufficient to exclude many neurological disorders
  • CT is less sensitive to patient motion during the examination. because the imaging can be performed much more rapidly
  • CT may be easier to perform in claustrophobic or very heavy patients
  • CT provides detailed evaluation of cortical bone
  • CT allows accurate detection of calcification and metal foreign bodies
  • CT can be performed at no risk to the patient with implantable medical devices, such as cardiac pacemakers, ferromagnetic vascular clips, and nerve stimulators

Advantages of head MRI

  • MRI does not use ionizing radiation, and is thus preferred over CT in children and patients requiring multiple imaging examinations
  • MRI has a much greater range of available soft tissue contrast, depicts anatomy in greater detail, and is more sensitive and specific for abnormalities within the brain itself
  • MRI scanning can be performed in any imaging plane without having to physically move the patient
  • MRI contrast agents have a considerably smaller risk of causing potentially lethal allergic reaction
  • MRI allows the evaluation of structures that may be obscured by artifacts from bone in CT images

{ 76 comments… read them below or add one }

henry mungia October 22, 2012 at 12:02 pm

I appreciate what you did here. It helps to make us students learn about this quicker and understand what it is we’ve learned.

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edward adugba December 25, 2012 at 10:05 pm

A friend and I got into a small argument about this. This blog post clarified a lot!

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N Stephenson January 7, 2013 at 11:17 pm

The ”For more information on specific situations in which CT or MRI may be preferred, please see here” link, has now been discontinued (since Knol.Google has now been discontinued as of May 1, 2012).
Any chance of a new link being created?
Thanks.

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Amy Everpean April 1, 2013 at 4:27 pm

Getting an MRI done is so important! It can help detect a lot of things going on inside your body that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to. I recently got one done and it was the best thing I’ve ever done! They discovered the problems i was having and made it so we could help me get feeling better again!

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Keidrick swan August 8, 2013 at 2:46 pm

I’m going in for one tomorrow. hope that I can say the same.

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John Loebel June 17, 2013 at 7:16 pm

A handy comparison. As technology grows in sophistication, one wonders how much lower ct radiation requirements will go. And there seems much promise in versatility of even microscopic evaluation with MRIs, provided costs in medical practice can be kept within reach.

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Alex September 19, 2013 at 10:38 pm

I have been experiencing lots of muscle twitching all over my body. Researching the web most times comes up as nothing. Its been two weeks and it still happens on and off. I’ve spent a few years taking ecstasy and recently molly’s. I’ve been clean now for a month or so but can’t help to wonder if I’ve have any brain damage that may articulate through these symptoms. I’ve also experience lots of muscle cramping on and off, & sometimes feel like I get cross-eyed. Anyone have any suggestions or ideas relatable to this?

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UCSF Department of Radiology Team September 24, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Good morning, Alex-
We cannot comment on specific cases and we recommend to please seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your medical condition.
Thank you!

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Angela January 19, 2014 at 8:03 pm

Alex, I had similar problems and I did not take illicit drugs and it ended up being a Vitamin D Deficiency. I went on Vitamin D and feel so much better with no pain or twitching.

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Angela January 19, 2014 at 8:20 pm

I had been experiencing head pain and pressure, dizziness, nausea and a one or two day feeling that I had a virus. That was from end of October 2013 to end of November and now (January 2014, it is heavy head pressure with slight dizziness and sometimes deep pressure at bridge of nose and once and awhile twitching around the occipital bone area however, this has been every day since October 2013. I had my first MRI then 30 minutes later got a call to come back in for a second one with contrast right away because there was something that looked like AVM and my brain tissue looked discolored in that area. Second MRI showed nothing. (All Ordered by Primary MD) I started having pressure only in the front part of my head and front top with pressure on the bridge of nose. I went to Otalaryngologist and put me on antibiotics and prednisone..my choice. Not working at all I am the same some days worse than others. The next step is the CT scan and I will say yes to that when I go for FU however, My question is …Is it possible that the first MRI was correct and the second MRI that was looked at (showed nothing) is not correct? What do I do in this situation? The image is there but we as patients have to trust the radiologist to look at those images and determine what is what. The ENT Dr. will be looking at the records for those MRI’s and I have not seen the Neurologist yet regarding the 3 months of Constant Head pressure. Thanks for your input.

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Catherine October 26, 2014 at 12:52 am

My Mom has had pressure and she says her head is dull and fuzzy – has had CT scan and the doctors says nothing shows up. I asked about an MRI and I was told it show s the same thing as a CT scan ( I know It does not). Have asked the family Doctor (over a year ago) for a referral to a neurologist and Have asked several times since – do not know if he has actually done a referral or if in the province of Alberta referrals go through a triage centre and then are referred depending on how bad or poor your condition is!!!! If anyone has any info or thoughts on this it would be appreciated hearing from you. As the info above is very interesting and I would wonder if anything has been done to improve your situation???

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cathy October 8, 2013 at 8:01 pm

I recently had a CT Scan to assist in the evaluation of possible hydrocephalus. The CT Scan appeared “normal”. Would a MRI be a better option when looking for any blockages in the brain?

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UCSF Department of Radiology Team October 21, 2013 at 1:49 pm

The ability to detect hydrocephalus in the brain is similar for CT and MRI. However, when hydrocephalus is present, MRI can better identify its anatomic cause, implications and optimal treatment.

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cathy October 21, 2013 at 6:40 pm

thank you for your help

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Mark October 10, 2013 at 11:06 am

My wife’s mom died of brain tumor at age 52. My wife is now 56. After routine EMR to diagnose pain in her hands, she developed acute burning and feeling of electricity flowing in her arms, head and legs. After 2 weeks of this the neuro sent her for an MRI of the neck – with no findings. However, from the knocking of the MRI she developed hyperacusis and remains highly sensitive to sound. After 8 worthless weeks in a highly respected German psych clinic where they experimented with drugs they released my wife with no diagnosis, no prognosis and no recommendations for further treatment! She has daily panic attacks in the morning, short periods of immobility, and persistent hallucinations when she closes her eyes. 2 or 3 times per day she is not able to open her right eye for a half hour or so and sometimes feels numbness in the left side of her face. Given her mom’s history, we want to rule out any biological causes such as brain infection or tumor, but she is terrified of another MRI and simply won’t have it. We’ve been to several doctors but nobody has a clue. Is there an imaging method that is “quieter” but can reveal organic pathologies within the skull? Any other diagnostic ideas? Thank you

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UCSF Department of Radiology Team October 11, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Abnormal feelings in all extremities, hyperacusis after MRI, panic attacks, transient paralysis, hallucinations, etc are symptoms that involve several different organ systems. If these are related to an underlying neurologic disorder, these would require involvement of both the brain and spine. The normal MRIs of her head and neck are comforting, but there are certainly metabolic abnormalities, autoimmune disorders and other conditions that might not be evident on imaging. If her symptoms have not changed since the MRI, she may not need any additional imaging. At present there is no imaging method that shows the brain or spine as well as MRI. But if she does need another MRI, there are many ways to make the scan quieter that we and other facilities have used — make sure and tell the radiologists about her sensitivities!

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jonny September 25, 2014 at 4:03 am

look into migraines with numbness

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jeremy October 25, 2013 at 9:41 pm

For about a week have been having issues with a tremor sensation throughout my body and extremities, more so laying down, all times, ringing in my ears, sudden jerking sensation in my right jaw as if I got a sudden jolt of electricity thru it, weakness if I put any kind of weight on my right arm, such has holding some groceries, it feels like I had a work out on my right arm,,,, sudden warming sensation in my head followed by nausea for about 30 minutes then its gone, occurred twice, strange coordination issues, hard to explain example.-I was holding my computer tray with both hands, but needed to open the door to get out of my room, and my right hand just let go of the tray to open the, so I dropped the computer needless to say, my feet tingle and feel cold and wet when there not either. I mentioned just a few things here, any way the ER did a CT scan and sent me on my way, with instructions to treat a headache???? Would an MRI catch something missed on a CT scan or should I be wheeled up to the Psych Ward?

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UCSF Department of Radiology Team October 30, 2013 at 8:33 pm

Because we don’t know all of the details, our policy is not to discuss the details of individual cases in this forum. Although CT is frequently used in the emergency setting because it is fast and readily available, MRI is a more sensitive modality for detecting brain abnormalities. It should be ordered by a medical professional who suspects that a brain abnormality may be the at the root of your symptoms.

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Ammer October 27, 2013 at 4:35 pm

If there are general headaches that have come on over the last few months, then which is the best test to rule out things like tumors or aneurisms etc. Would a head mri be able to rule out these without having further info? if so, then why is the MRA done specifically to look for vessel abnormalities?

In other words, if it is uncertain whether the problem is growth or vessel abnormality, would the standard head mri suffice as the modality of choice?

Thanks.

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UCSF Department of Radiology Team October 30, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Because migraine, tension and many common causes for headache have no corresponding structural abnormalities on imaging, both CT and MRI are generally of low yield. Best to start with a medical professional, who can better gauge the risk of more serious causes of headache by listening to your symptoms and order an MRI or CT depending on if another cause of headache (for example, vascular or infection).

Also, MRI (MR Imaging) in the vernacular is a study of the brain. MRA (MR Angiography) is a study of the arteries (which are seen but not to sufficient detail on MRI). MRV (MR Venography) is a study of the veins (which are also seen on MRI but with limited detail). Thus MRA is used to evaluate for aneurysms, and MRV is used to evaluate for venous causes of headache.

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Ammer October 30, 2013 at 12:32 am

My wife is having persistent headaches for several months now – she has a history in her family that her mother has had a hemrege and her brother a benign tumor in the right frontal lobe. In terms of tests, which test would be most appropriately for her – an MRI or an MRA of the brain?
Thanks for your answers.

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UCSF Department of Radiology Team October 30, 2013 at 8:33 pm

Please see the reply to your last question for your answers! Thanks, Ammer!

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joseph natale November 3, 2013 at 4:59 pm

While on vacation in June I had an event that was diagnosed as a TIA. Three days later I saw my physician and among other tests, received a CT scan without contrast. I was diagnosed then with a mild ischemic lacunar stroke. I was given the usual medication recommendations, however two days later had to return to emergency with vague symptoms. There I was given a CT scan with contrast and was diagnosed with a mlld evolving lacunar stroke, About a week later I began to experience mild pins and needles in my extremities which have since worsened and have become pervasive throughout my body. I am taking gabapentin for the symptoms but there has yet to be a diagnosis.
I feel this condition is related to my stroke but my neurologist is uncertain. At any point in this process would an MRI have been able to give further information and might an MRI at this point be helpful in the diagnosis?

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UCSF Department of Radiology Team December 17, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Unfortunately, we are unable to discuss particulars for individual patients in this venue. Imaging is a critical part of the evaluation of most neurologic disorders. But without evaluating patients in person it is difficult to safely and accurately make specific recommendations as to the type of imaging that may be best for a patient. MRI routinely allows better depiction of fine anatomic detail in the brain and can show certain abnormalities with much higher sensitivity. However, depending on the nature of the abnormality suspected to be at the root of a patient’s symptoms, MRI may not be necessary and CT can safely and effectively be used to exclude many important neurologic abnormalities. It should also be noted that the radiation dose imparted by a typical head CT is very small, similar to the radiation dose one would be exposed due by flying at high altitude on two round-trip transcontinental airline flights.

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Austin Jenkerson November 12, 2013 at 11:32 pm

I have been experiencing some odd symptoms lately, I have been forgetting how to spell and when people speak it sounds different. I have a hard time watching simple television shows that I used to love like American Dad, Always Sunny in Philadelphia, etc. I used to feel like a genius but now I feel like a degenerate/bozo/moron. I am going to get a CT or MRI for an overall scan of the brain to see if anything is wrong. I guess my question is, what is the best overall scan of the brain?

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UCSF Department of Radiology Team November 21, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Thanks for your questions, Austin. The best noninvasive imaging technique of the brain that is currently available is MRI.

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Diana November 20, 2013 at 7:50 pm

For future evaluations following a Traumatic Brain Injury when metal fragments are still embedded in the brain, what other scans would be available to determine specific area of tissue damage. Metal distorts the image in CT scans.

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UCSF Department of Radiology Team November 21, 2013 at 9:10 pm

Good afternoon, Diana. Unfortunately there are few alternatives. When fragments are embedded in soft tissues around the head, it is not always a problem like it is in the brain.

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Jason December 8, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Hi there,
Last November 2012 I was in office, I was in my desk and felt sleepy, suddenly I felt like a electric shock went through my head in sec and I woke up within dizzy feeling. I then went to toilet and wash my face, however I still felt like I am having heart attack, so I called ambulance and was taken to Hospital. After bthat next few days I started having what doctor said panic attack and I kept going to hospital and everytime I was told panic attack. Anyway I then had cardiologist to look at me who did heart scan and found clear. However after 4 months of heart scan I keep getting cheat pain and dizziness almost every month once or twice and went to hospital and everytime they did ECG and blood test and foudn negative. I was taking high blood pressure medicine Ramipiril, after having cough, it was changed to canbdesartan month ago. Now I feel heart palpatartions and also chest pain, my doctor just keep saying it is panic attack, however I never get panic, I only get panic when I get heart palpatation and chest pain, with it comes dizziness. Anyway I was then sent to heahache clinic and doctor did normal physical test such as closing eyes and moving head and legs and he said nothing wrong. I then told him as I keep getting dizziness and my heart is okay, if he can get alteast MRI scan done on my head just to rule out my concern. He denied first and then I keep requesting him and then he agreed to do CT scan of my head. Now I read about CT scan and I am scared of getting radiation through my head and I am scared of CT scan. I then requested to doctor MRI scan but he said he can only do CT scan, which I believe he is not doing MRI because he wants to save NHS money. Anyway will you kindly advise if I should CT scan of my head at all.

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UCSF Department of Radiology Team December 17, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Hi there, Jason!
Unfortunately, we are unable to discuss particulars for individual patients in this venue. Imaging is a critical part of the evaluation of most neurologic disorders. But without evaluating patients in person it is difficult to safely and accurately make specific recommendations as to the type of imaging that may be best for a patient. MRI routinely allows better depiction of fine anatomic detail in the brain and can show certain abnormalities with much higher sensitivity. However, depending on the nature of the abnormality suspected to be at the root of a patient’s symptoms, MRI may not be necessary and CT can safely and effectively be used to exclude many important neurologic abnormalities. It should also be noted that the radiation dose imparted by a typical head CT is very small, similar to the radiation dose one would be exposed due by flying at high altitude on two round-trip transcontinental airline flights.

Thanks!

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Lynn December 16, 2013 at 3:45 am

My 11 year old son was diagnosed with a mild concussion Oct. 12, 2013. He never displayed any symptoms to trigger imaging studies. However, two months later he still has headaches related to visual input and can not attend school full time. We are worried and wondered if we should ask the physician for a CT or MRI? We are concerned about radiation exposure.

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UCSF Department of Radiology Team December 18, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Hi there Lynn. Thanks for stopping by the blog!

Unfortunately, we are unable to discuss particulars for individual patients in this venue. Imaging is a critical part of the evaluation of most neurologic disorders. But without evaluating patients in person it is difficult to safely and accurately make specific recommendations as to the type of imaging that may be best for a patient. MRI routinely allows better depiction of fine anatomic detail in the brain and can show certain abnormalities with much higher sensitivity. However, depending on the nature of the abnormality suspected to be at the root of a patient’s symptoms, MRI may not be necessary and CT can safely and effectively be used to exclude many important neurologic abnormalities. It should also be noted that the radiation dose imparted by a typical head CT is very small, similar to the radiation dose one would be exposed due by flying at high altitude on two round-trip transcontinental airline flights.

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Alex December 16, 2013 at 7:20 am

I’ve been having headaches for the past month and a half. I went to the doctor and he sent me to have an MRI but the problem is that I have a bullet lodged in my hip from 20 years ago. The doctor said its probably best if I have a CT scan to prevent any complications. Do you think its best if I have the bullet removed and or have an MRI? I would greatly appreciate your point of view regarding this matter. Thanks

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UCSF Department of Radiology Team December 18, 2013 at 8:28 pm

Shrapnel and other metallic debris and their significance for MRI is the source of many questions. There are two considerations here. First, metallic objects can degrade the quality of an MRI. If a bullet is in the hip, it might interfere with an MRI of the hip but not MRI of the brain. The second consideration is whether the effect of the magnetic field could move the object. In general, unless the object is in very close proximity to a structure that can be injured easily, such as the eyeball or a large artery, patients can still safely undergo MRI. An object such as a bullet after time becomes tethered to surrounding tissues by scar, and would not be affected significantly by the MRI scanner. We would recommend that you discuss the risks and benefits of MRI in any individual case with a board certified radiologist.

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Romario August 11, 2014 at 1:38 am

Most health irasnunces WILL cover standard Radiographic tests such as CT scans, X-rays and MRI’s. As far as not having health insurance, most hospitals and maybe doctors offices will offer a financial aid for people who do not have health insurance. MRI’s are used for diagnostic purposes so, if you need one and your doctor has ordered one, then I don’t see why you would have a hard time getting your health insurance to cover it, or to get financial aid for one. If you can’t get financial aid to assist you, than the MRI place or hospital will be able to work a payment plan out with you. Good Luck!

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Jay December 24, 2013 at 7:36 pm

Hi,
I have vision problem ( blurred vision, color deficiency) in my left eye. My doctor asked for CT scan. CT scan report is normal. Do I need to go for MRI scan?

Thanks,
Jay

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UCSF Department of Radiology Team January 20, 2014 at 2:44 pm

An MRI can provide better characterization of certain vision problems compared to CT; however, most vision problems do not necessarily have an imaging manifestation. We would recommend to discuss with your doctor further.

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Nena December 25, 2013 at 10:51 pm

Hello there, this blog is informative.
which is better to determine the blod clot in the brain? MRI or CT?
Thanks

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UCSF Department of Radiology Team January 20, 2014 at 2:45 pm

Based on the provided information, it is hard to determine the details of the blood clot. An MRI with an MRA (special sequences to look at vessels) or CTA (CT with contrast to look at vessels) would provide better characterization than CT. We recommend to discuss with your doctor.

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Eberhard J. Wilsenack January 4, 2014 at 7:47 am

My wife has had a heart attack in December 2010.Surgery was done and stents and tubes implanted.Here is a Native Diagnostic Summary. Right Coronary Artry* Normal.
Left Main *Normal, Left Anterior Descending, Prox LAD -40% Tubular, Mid LAD -90%
Tubular,- 80% tubular extending to Dist Lad,- 60% Tubular, -D1 -30 % Tubular large.
D2 – small, D3 -small ( D1 -D2-D3 ) are stents.
Our Doctor has ordered an MRI scan for Feb.2014, how safe is an MRI with these implants.I am reading that stents implanted after 2007 are not metallic and therefore
safer to any damage to the heart. Please give me your opinion and correct me .
Thank you very much,

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UCSF Department of Radiology Team January 20, 2014 at 2:45 pm

In general, coronary stents are safe for MRI use. We would recommend to provide the radiologist and technologist the manufacturer info of the stents before the MRI for confirmation of safety.

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shivanand January 7, 2014 at 5:47 am

Hi ,

My wife fell down from a auto by back side & her back portion of the head got hit in the road she has pains in ears & back side head . feeling vomiting also & i have low BP as well .suggest me should i go for a Scan if so wat type of Scan CT OR MRI .

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UCSF Department of Radiology Team January 20, 2014 at 2:47 pm

We cannot comment on specific cases and we recommend to please seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your medical condition.
Thank you!

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Carrie January 14, 2014 at 12:16 am

My daughter 21 has had a headache for 4 weeks now. She has been to the doctor, naturopathy/acupuncture, had a cranial/sacral massage. It seems to be getting a little better but was still there. Now today is back to a 7 out of 10 pain scale and her vision is off today. Says she has to blink a lot to keep people in focus. Should we go the route of getting a CT Scan?

Thanks

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Abigail Romo September 25, 2014 at 3:13 am

Has your daughter’s blood pressure remained normal? Has she has any anxiety or panic attacks? Has she been clammy or sweaty at times she shouldn’t be? Fast heart rate? If so, I would recommend getting imaging for a different part of the body.

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Kerry brown January 17, 2014 at 1:50 pm

If you have an MRI of the brain why would you need a ct scan done after

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William January 21, 2014 at 5:36 am

Thank you for your valuable comments.

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joan January 27, 2014 at 10:52 am

I fell down flight of stairs one week ago hitting my head several times; ER ordered a catscan that showed small hematoma. I was never unconscious. I am 81 years old. Should I have MRI ?

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Delayna January 29, 2014 at 8:59 pm

My son is 12 and suffers from debilitating headaches. The doctor is pretty sure it’s migraines and doesn’t see any symptoms that would lead him to believe otherwise. He can not start any treatment until he has a brain scan to rule out other possibilities. ( tumor, aneurysm, ect) His doctor ordered a Cat scan and insurance would only approve a MRI. Is this a better scan for this purpose or should I push the issue with insurance to make sure the doctor is getting the information needed?

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Williams lucy January 30, 2014 at 7:24 pm

Ucsf team and others in the forum
My dad 60, bangd his head into the brick wall ( as no soft paddind i in the swiming pool) 2 days ago,whilst doing back stroke. He felt slightly dizzy,little nausea(but didnt throw up)had cramps in right feet. Around 8pm he was seen by a regular doctor at a walk in clinic.he checked his eyes and reflexes etc, and he suggested that he get a scan done if he felt nausea etc. we can get either a ct scan or mri,as its paid for privately by his corporation. Can any one please recommend what should he get
1.mri or ct scan- what is more effective to identify if there is a slow blood leak etc
2.my dads father has full blown alzheimers ,whilst getting mri or ct scan can we request that the radigrapher also looks at this in the brain to evaluate if my dad will also prone to alzheimers? What do we ask for in medical terms? thanks for your comments in advance

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dorothy wagner February 7, 2014 at 3:09 am

would MRI be useful in diagnosing and treating acute bipolar mania?

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Greg February 17, 2014 at 12:07 am

An ER doc told us that after a traumatic brain injury, CT is better for checking for bleeding on the brain than MRI, which is less sensitive to blood.

Would you say that statement is true?

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Mary trask February 17, 2014 at 7:58 pm

I experience tightness in the area of my celembrume

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Karen February 22, 2014 at 9:38 pm

I was in a an accident in November and they did a ct scan at the emergency room which was normal. I continue having headaches and blurred vision so I saw a neurologist this morning who said I also have poor balance and he is sending me for an MRI. Now I am worried about a brain tumor. Wouldn’t that have shown up in the ct scan?

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Sonya March 10, 2014 at 10:20 am

Hi
I wonder of anybody can help me, I went to optician who suggested I have optic nerve swellings in both eyes, went to hospital, they have done urgent CT which came back as completely normal. Neurologist seen me and said that she can not see the selling and my CT is fine. For some reason I am still so worried as I am 30. I have headache every evening but wonder could it be anxiety? Can I trust CT scan and neurologist? Thanks for the answers

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Kayla March 28, 2014 at 4:32 pm

I went to the hospital complaining about bad headaches and they gave me a CT scan. My mom wanted me to get an MRI, but they said the CT scan was better. We got one of my brain, they found nothing, but we want to go back and get the MRI because the headaches are still happening. After all the medication they gave me, it hasn’t gotten any better. Should I go get a second opinion?

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Abigail Romo September 25, 2014 at 3:19 am

Maybe. Do you have any other symptoms that seem to accompany these headaches? Increased blood pressure or heartrate? Sweating when you normally would not? Anxiety? If so, maybe you should get your abdominal area scanned and see what is going on with your adrenal glands. I had a rare tumor on my left adrenal gland called a pheochromocytoma that would have killed me had I not had it removed. The tumor caused horrible spikes in my blood pressure and awful headaches. They are quite rare, but I think there are more out there than are ever discovered, particularly since most are diagnosed on autopsy.

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Michele March 30, 2014 at 2:13 am

My daughter sustained a concussion a month ago and is still having headaches. Should she have an MRI now?

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Amanda Evans April 6, 2014 at 12:35 am

Hi there. I’m a 35 yr old female who’s had a headache for the past six weeks. I’ve taken Panadol, Nurofen, panadeine, imigran, endone and mersyndol and none of them even touch the sides. My CT was normal. Is it worth getting an MRI. It’s been really debilitating and I’ve missed loads of work.

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Vivi April 9, 2014 at 11:38 pm

Hello I’ve been experiencing some hearing loss for a few years and I’ve had a MRI a while back and they told me I had white matter and that it was normal & just today I had a CT scan. Would the CT scan have some more visual than the MRI?

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Patti April 26, 2014 at 11:18 pm

For over a week I have been smelling cigarette smoke where there is none. My Neurologist ordered an MRI. I wondered why not a CT scan. This was very informative!

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mustafa bayraktar May 28, 2014 at 8:27 pm

Dear All;
I wish to ask a question regarding clinic & radiology communication.
When a clinician asks a radiologist for imaging request; who determines the modality?

Best Regards

Mustafa

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Humera Tariq May 31, 2014 at 6:21 pm

Wants to know the difference between Noise estimation and bias correction in MRI images.

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Jeremiah June 10, 2014 at 2:26 am

I have been having severe head pain, along with high blood pressure and many other health issues! I’ve already had an MRI but whoever read my scan said there wasn’t nothin wrong with it! And I remember how healthy I was when I was a younger and now I can’t hardly do anything without feeling pain 24/7! I have severe head pain, twice the pain as migraines, along with dizziness, confusion, loss of balance, difficulty of speech, nose bleeding, and etc, the list goes on! All of pain is from within my right side of head! And swelling and tightness in left arm, arm pit, and back of neck my right side! But can an MRI scan misread the first time one gets it done?! Cause I don’t have the money for another and doctors seem like they don’t want to believe me! I guess I should take my scan to a neurologist! Money is being blown from doctor appointments and etc! Anyone suggestions on what to do?! I would really appreciate it!

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Abigail Romo September 25, 2014 at 3:23 am

Look up what I had. A pheochromocytoma. Maybe they need to scan your abdominal area and take a look at your adrenal glands.

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Bonnielee Cameron June 13, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Hi there,
I had a CT scan and it showed somthing in my patuitary gland it is clearly visible yet when I had an MRI they said they couldn’t see anything how does this happen and which scan do I believe

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H Wang June 20, 2014 at 8:11 pm

My daughter is 9 years old. She had her first grand mal seizure a month ago. Her brain CT came back normal when she was in ER. She had her 2nd seizure yesterday. Does she need a MRI?

Best Regards,

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Jane July 20, 2014 at 1:41 pm

I had my first grand mal seizure at 28, and after having had EEG, CT and MRI’s have a diagnosis of “seizure disorder”. The truth is sometimes they never figure out why people have seizures. My CT and MRI are always normal, and yet they still happen. See a good neurologist and have an in depth exam done, particularly with sudden onset or if she has had an injury of some kind. Good luck!

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andrew June 29, 2014 at 9:48 pm

I suffered from anxiety disorderes mixed with depression in the past. I was placed on anti-depressants and benzos which were able to calm down my nerves and make me feel happy again, when i relapsed i noticed there was a change in my speech, i couldn’t pronounce words as well as i did. My attention or concentrarion levels plummeted. Due to these cognitive problems i was having, i slowly lost interest for my passions. You never really know the role a persons cognitive mind plays…in decision making until it’s gone. This all happened 2yrs ago, currently seeing a psychiatrist who prescribes antidepressants and some other drugs to help me sleep. My question is, would it be ok to take a medication like adderall to boost my concentration and then maybe have a ct scan for the cognitve.

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Yomi August 2, 2014 at 1:31 am

Lost full control of the right of my face which include my eyelid and lips since 4 days ago, got a ct scan on my brain yesterday which came out all normal. Will an MRI help in this case

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Julie September 8, 2014 at 3:59 am

I had a CT that showed an opacified frontal sinus. Would an MRI reveal more about what the nature of the blockage is, that is to say, like a polyp, etc? It is impressive to see the whole CT image package, which is somewhat recognizeable for a layman. MRIs are so difficult to relate to!

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Linda September 15, 2014 at 10:39 pm

About 14 years ago I had a ct scan and an mri of of brain. The ct scan showed greater than 20 spots on both hemispheres of my brain, and a short in my right frontal lobe. My doctor wanted me to stay in the hospital for 2 weeks with a helmet on my head which would show what my brain was doing 24/7. I couldn’t afford this as I had no medical coverage. The mri was normal.

Now that I have health insurance, my doctor has requested another ct scan be done. But my insurance has denied me for it stating I have already had a recent mri and it was normal. This is indeed true. But the first mri was normal too where the ct scan wasn’t.

The two tests were obviously show something different. As it stands now, I can’t even get a record of my previous ct scan as it was over 7 years ago and has been purged from the hospital records.

What can I do now??? And why did the ct scan show the above results where the mri showed nothing wrong?

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Thomas September 30, 2014 at 2:49 pm

So, CT is much faster than MRI, making it the study of choice in cases of trauma and other acute neurological emergencies?

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Gail October 11, 2014 at 1:55 am

I get extreme, sharp headaches that last between 20-45 min upon sneezing, coughing, bending over, laughing hard or basically anything that causes pressure in my head. I’ve been to my primary care physician who was clueless. I begged to be referred to a neurologist. Finally went to one who prescribed me anti seizure meds. Took for a couple of weeks with no success. Went back to the neurologist and he didn’t know what to tell me. Seemed a little pissed that I didn’t want to continue the meds. An ER visit have me a CT scan with no notable abnormalities. I’ve finally got an appt with the University of SC Dept of Neurology on Jan. 22. Hoping theyll suggest an MRI at least. So tired of this. It’s like no one believes my symptoms. So frustrating. Anybody had similar symptoms??

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Ashley Broom October 30, 2014 at 6:38 pm

#MRI is poised to reach approximately $5.24 billion by 2018 at a #CAGR of 4.56%

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