The Difference Between MRI and Ultrasound

What is the Difference Between MRI and Ultrasound


There are so many different types of medical imaging procedures, CT scans, fMRIs, X-Rays, MRIs, ultrasounds. Although they all may be a part of medical imaging, each technique offers a unique point of view of the whole picture. Each technique may also use a different method for imaging. Today we will highlight MRIs vs. Ultrasounds. 

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) 

How: Using powerful magnets, it creates a strong magnetic field that makes protons in the body align with these fields. The patient is placed inside of a large machine and must stay very still in order to get the proper image. When a radiofrequency is turned on in the machine, it detects the change in direction in rotation of the axons that were excited-- creating an image. Sometimes, a contrast dye is injected into the patient’s veins to produce a better quality email.  

Why: MRIs are used to produce three dimensional and detailed anatomical images. They are often used for disease detection, diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment. Usually MRIs will be chosen for the imaging of knee, shoulder, muscle, and ligament injuries. 

MRI Costs: The average cost for a general MRI is 1,2500-3,200 dollars. But that varies on where you get the imaging done and what body part the imaging is necessary for. To find the best imaging facility for you, visit Nayya!



How: Ultrasound probes that produce sound waves are either placed on the skin or inside the body. The probe will both produce and detect the soundwaves that are reflected back. When the sound waves from the probe are sent into the body, they are reflected back to the probe because of the boundaries between the tissues that are in the path of the beam. They generate electric signals that are sent to the scanner, which will calculate the distance from the tissue and will generate 2D images of tissues and organs. 


Why: Ultrasounds are used in three categories: diagnostic, functional, and therapeutic. For diagnostic purposes, ultrasounds are used to non-invasively image internal organs, but are not good for bones or anything containing air. Diagnostic ultrasounds are often used for pregnancy to monitor the baby in development. A functional ultrasound will measure blood flow within the body or the heart using color-coded maps. This is often used to determine if the plaque build-up in the carotid arteries is blocking blood flow to the brain. For Therapeutic purposes, it is used to focus on specific targets for heating, ablating, or breaking up tissue. 

Ultrasound Costs: The average cost of an ultrasound is about 300 dollars. 


Comparing and Contrasting the Two:

Both MRIs and Ultrasounds are used to identify and target the tissue that needs to be treated and for controlling the treatment in real time. They both are also used to determine if the treatment is effective. However, an ultrasound is more accessible and quicker than MRIs. It also will not cause patients with claustrophobia any issues that an MRI would. An ultrasound allows for dynamic scanning. MRIs are great for assessing pathologies that would result in the instability of the limb and are great for the imaging of ligaments and the spine.

Overall, both are great imaging techniques that have their pros and cons. Ultrasounds may produce better images for some ailments while MRI is better for others. Understanding the differences between techniques are important for an accurate diagnosis and treatment. If you are wondering: where can I book an appointment for an ultrasound or MRI near me? check out to compare the closest, highest quality, and most cost effective facilities near you.