Difference Between Ultrasound and MRI (With Table)

Ultrasound and MRI are two tests used to diagnose underlying diseases. The doctors recommend these two methods to find out what is going on with the internal structures of our body. However, these two are very different methods. Ultrasound is a common test whereas MRI is comparatively powerful. Medical guidance is very necessary before going for the test.

Just because they are used to obtain internal images, does not conclude that they can be used as a substitute for each other. Hence it is very important to perform any of these under medical guidance.

Ultrasound vs MRI

The main difference between Ultrasound and MRI is that Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of our internal parts. Whereas, MRI depends on magnets to produce 3d images of our internal organs. Though both these are used to capture internal images of our body, the main difference lies in their technique. The doctor decides which one to prescribe, depending on the condition of the patient.

Ultrasound is a common, harmless performed to detect any underlying diseases beneath soft tissues. The process is affordable, painless, and of short duration. Doctors generally assign it to patients to treat the perfect spot. The result comes in still images captured on the screen during the test. The sound waves can not travel through the bones thus can not detect any kind of bone injuries.

On the other hand, the MRI is considered a more accurate diagnostic tool. MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. It gives very detailed information. Hence this is prescribed by the doctor in case of serious bone injuries, tumors, or any suspectable inflammation. It is costlier and also a long process.

Comparison Table Between Ultrasound and MRI

Parameters of ComparisonUltrasoundMRI
TechniqueIt uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of our internal parts.It uses powerful magnets to produce 3d images of our internal organs.
UseIt is performed to detect any underlying diseases beneath soft tissues.It is performed to detect serious bone injuries, tumors, or any suspectable inflammation.
RiskThe process is mild and does not include any strong or harmful elements.The powerful magnets might be harmful to patients who have any ferromagnetic medical device implanted in their bodies.
Patient toleranceIt is done by laying the patient on the bed in a comfortable position and environment. Hence no difficulties take place.The MRI environment may seem uncomfortable and intimidating to certain claustrophobic people.
CostIt is a simple and affordable test. When prescribed by the doctor, any patient can go for one.The process is long with detailed information and hence is much costlier.

What is Ultrasound?

Ultrasound is recommended to diagnose soft tissues such as breasts or blood vessels. It is the safest process and does not have any such bad side effects. The process is very simple and short. Hence the formation of images is real quick.

One of the most important uses is to detect pregnancy and the growth of the fetus. Ultrasonography can be done on the exact spot as directed by the doctor. During the process, a clear live view is available on the screen. Sometimes to make it dynamic, doctors are present during the test to detect the proper damage or injury.

Ultrasonography tests are generally suggested before the doctor prescribes any pain relief or steroid injections. They help in finding out the exact spot with the help of clear images. This in turn helps in better treatment and medication.

It is not a complicated process hence the patients do not feel scared during the test. It is done in a normal environment with the help of a transducer. The images are formed on the screen. There is no use of radiation.

What is MRI?

MRI is mainly recommended when a doctor needs to diagnose our bone structures. The process of 3d imaging by magnets transmits well through the bones. Hence we get the prominent images. It is also used to test lungs or bowers or other such air-filled organs.

However, there are certain disadvantages of MRI. Since it travels through the bones to capture images, very powerful magnets are required. This might be a risk, especially for patients who have any ferromagnetic medical device implanted in their bodies.

MRI is very time-consuming and is a long process. However, they give us the most detailed result. The magnet is used to arrange the water molecules properly so that the scanner can obtain a three-dimensional image of the targetted structure.

MRI can be intimidating for claustrophobic people. The surrounding is enclosed and the patient is made to lie down. The duration is long and the operation of the machine can not be tolerated by patients. Due to this reason, the patient is sometimes given sedatives before the process to help to deal with the process.

Main Differences Between Ultrasound and MRI

  1. The most distinct main difference between Ultrasound and MRI is that Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of our internal parts. Whereas, MRI uses powerful magnets to produce 3d images of our internal organs.
  2. Then comes the risk. Ultrasound is mild and does not include any strong or harmful elements. On the other hand, the powerful magnets in MRI might be harmful to patients who have any ferromagnetic medical device implanted in their bodies. It is also not recommended to pregnant ladies.
  3. Ultrasound is performed to detect any underlying diseases beneath soft tissues. MRI is performed to detect serious bone injuries, tumors, or any suspectable inflammation.
  4. Ultrasound is a simple and affordable test. When prescribed by the doctor, any patient can go for one. The process in MRI is long with detailed information and hence is much costlier.
  5. Ultrasound is done by laying the patient on the bed in a comfortable position and environment. Hence no difficulties take place. The MRI environment may seem uncomfortable and intimidating to certain claustrophobic people.

Conclusion

One of the main reasons doctors recommend Ultrasound and MRI is because they bare have minimum side effects. They do not include the usage of ionizing radiation, which, is very harmful to our body and increases the risk of cancers. Ultrasound is much safer than MRI. However, all kinds of imaging can not be performed since the waves can not reach inside the bones.

MRI is important for detailed information. It can show the actual structures when an ultrasound fails to do so. Instead, it focuses on the soft tissues, such as breasts. For the detection of serious conditions like tumors, inflammation, or congenital abnormalities, MRI is the test.

References

  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/14767058.2016.1171310
  2. https://journals.lww.com/co-obgyn/Fulltext/2007/12000/Update_on_clinical_role_of_tamoxifen.2.aspx
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