A 40-year-old member asked:
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what is the difference between an mri and an x-ray?

2 doctor answers
Dr. Mark Hoepfner
38 years experience General Surgery
Differences: Mri uses very strong magnetism to orient the body's water molecules to help see internal structures such as ligaments, joints, brain, etc. X-ray is the use of x-rays that pass through the body and develop a picture on film or a computer to see some structures such as bones, lungs, etc.
Answered on May 7, 2013
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Dr. Philip Chao
Dr. Philip Chao commented
37 years experience Radiology
MRI,CT,nuclear medicine,PET,sonogram and xrays are all ways we image the body. MRI is magnetic resonance imaging so it does NOT use xrays. Its safe and shows many things best that xrays cannot see.
May 7, 2013
Dr. Joseph Accurso
28 years experience Radiology
Both show anatomy: Both x-rays (radiographs) and MRI show anatomy. Radiographs do this by imaging differences in density, with all structures overlapping each other like a shadow. Mri looks at differences in the number hydrogen atoms in a region (proton density) and the local environment they are in. Mri is better for looking at soft tissues. Radiographs are better for looking at cortical bone.
Answered on Jun 10, 2014

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