Why You Need An MRI Scan Not An X-Ray

A lot of people are very familiar with how an X-ray works, after having grown up seeing them referenced in media a lot. If you have ever broken a bone, as many children have, then you will likely already have had an x-ray taken and are familiar with the process. What you may not be as familiar with is an MRI scan. If you are being scheduled for an MRI scan you might be quite confused and not sure how to feel about it. Here are a few reasons why you would have been prescribed an MRI scan and not an x-ray.

Soft Tissue

If you have seen an x-ray image before, then you know it is virtually just an image of your skeleton, with minor detail of organs and muscle. An MRI scan, on the other hand, provides an extremely detailed picture of the soft tissue in your body in a way that an X-ray simply cannot do. While an x-ray is useful in some instances for soft tissue (particularly with the lungs) in many instances an MRI scan provides a cleaner, more detailed 3D image that allows your medical professionals to more accurately diagnose the issue. 


One of the main areas where x-rays fall short is in the parts of the body with a lot of bones, connective tissue, and muscles. This is particularly true in the major joints, such as your knees and shoulders. If you have recurring issues with these joints, you most likely will need at least a few MRI scans to ensure that your doctor knows exactly where the problem lies so that if any surgical involvement is required that they can be as accurate as possible. If you only used an x-ray you would be much less equipped to tackle issues relating to the joints.


When it comes to the brain, there are a dozen different problems that an MRI scan can give more detailed information than any other including a CT scan. If you are getting a lot of headaches or migraines, and no one can figure out the root cause, then chances are you will be scheduled for an MRI scan to figure out what exactly is going wrong. Or, if nothing is found on the scan, that too will clear up a lot of questions and help you focus on the potential lifestyle causes that are making you have such frequent headaches.  

For more information about MRI scans, contact a local doctor.