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What Can a Pelvis MRI Show That CT Can’t?

written by: AlyssaAst•edited by: Emma Lloyd•updated: 7/24/2009

Many medical conditions of the pelvis can be diagnosed using two imaging methods, a pelvic MRI and a CT scan of the pelvic area. These imaging techniques are very similar but have differences in the images they can produce. What can a pelvic MRI show that CT can’t? Find out in this article.

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    There are many times, a pelvic MRI or a pelvic CT scan need to be used to diagnose medical conditions or abnormalities. These two diagnostic testing tools both produce images that can be used to diagnose medical conditions. Although the two tests are very similar, there are differences in the images they can produce. What can a pelvic MRI show that a CT can’t? There are a couple differences in the image quality and ability of each machine.

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    What is a Pelvic MRI?

    Pelvic MRI’s are used to produce images of the lower abdomen and pelvic region. Pelvic MRI’s can show images of the reproductive organs. The MRI machine used for the pelvic examination uses a powerful magnetic field along with radio frequency pulses. These two things, along with a computer produce, very detailed images of the internal body. This diagnostic test can produce images of the soft tissues, organs, bone, and almost every other internal component in the body. MRI’s can produce better images of the body than other diagnostic tools, such as CT scans and x-rays. MRI's can be more difficult to conduct because it requires absolutely no movement of the person in the machine. Breathing can evan blur the images.

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    What is a Pelvic CT Scan?

    A pelvic CT scan can allow doctors to properly diagnose medical conditions using a CT machine. This machine uses x-ray equipments and computers to produce images of the inside of the body. The machine produces cross-sectional images that can be used to diagnose medical conditions. Pelvic CT scans allow doctors to see bones, blood vessels, organs, and soft tissues inside the pelvic area. These images are clearer and more detailed than the ordinary x-ray. CT scans are not as sensitive to movement as MRI's, but too much movement can still blur the images.

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    What Can a Pelvic MRI Show That CT Can’t?

    Although these two diagnostic tests are very similar, there are differences in the images they produce. For example, an MRI can provide doctors with a look at the biochemistry of living cells. MRIs are able to provide images from multiple different plains and variations. MRI images are much clearer and more detailed than those of a CT scan.

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    References:

    “MRI of the Body (Chest, Abdomen, Pelvis)" June 10, 2009 www.radiologyinfo.org

    “What is CT Scanning of the Abdomen/Pelvis?" June 10, 2009 www.radiologyinfo.org

    “CT- FAQ" 2004 www.universitymri.com