What is better CT or MRI of abdomen, recommendations


Human life often depends on timely and accurate diagnosis threat conditions and from timely initiation of treatment. Various internal injuries, anomalies of their development, foci of inflammatory processes, neoplasms, aneurysm – these are just some examples of diseases that threaten life. To save a patient’s life or save his health, by providing medical care that exactly matches the diagnosis requires a high medical professionalism. And in this case of various pathologies of the abdominal organs, doctors of many specialties additional instrumental methods of examination. Of these, the most informative x-ray, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

The essence of the radiographic method of research

X-ray examination is the most traditional and old method which gives high information content compared to the new ways. But it is still widely used in many medical institutions. In conducting the review x-rays of the abdomen a person receives a certain dose of radiation without guarantee clear accurate picture in the picture, as the parenchyma (actually a tissue) of internal organs did not reflect the rays and transmits them. As a result of the shade bodies overlap each other, and much the image can be interpreted in different ways, leading to misdiagnosis. But some dangerous condition (perforation of the bowel, acute intestinal obstruction) on the overview picture are detected immediately, allowing you to proceed immediately to surgery.

To accuracy, conduct an x-ray with contrast if no contraindications to it. And that means more load on the body with a barium compound and re-irradiated a few times per day (up to 6 images with contrast, not counting the review). In the end, the doctor receives the necessary information within twenty-four hours, and the patient – significant radiation exposure.

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The essence of the computer tomography

Examination of the abdominal cavity by CT used for more than 40 years, also involves the use of x-ray radiation, but its intensity is much less than when conducting x-ray examination. As you move the patient through the device produces a series of images. All data is immediately processed by the computer and fed to the monitor in the form of layer «slices» of the study area. Slice thickness – 1 mm, and «step» of such images is 3-10 mm, and the doctor is able to see the organ, tumor or other anatomical structure in many details.

To increase the informative value of CT is often carried out with the use of contrast. It makes the picture on the monitor is more clear, better processed by a computer system that is invaluable for quick and accurate diagnosis. But there are some contraindications for use of contrast, and this is a disadvantage of the method. In General, CT is better than x-ray, in terms of informativeness of the method and speed of obtaining data, but still performed using x-ray radiation, and patients receiving certain radiation load.

The essence of magnetic resonance imaging

The modern, safe and informative method of examination of the abdomen today is MRI magnetic resonance imaging. The use of magnetic fields and radio waves completely harmless to humans. Under the influence of the strength of the magnetic field the protons of hydrogen molecules play the role of the radio waves which are reflected by molecules of its own tissues of the internal organs in the form of certain signals. The computer collects a huge mass of these signals, processes, and promptly converts all the information into a series of layered images.

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The distance between the scanned layers in MRI is very small, only 2-4 mm, which is less than that of CT. Before the eyes of the specialist appears any organ of the abdominal cavity, vascular bundle or nerve trunk, literally «placed on shelves». Such high resolution is able to visualize the smallest irregularities of the structure, the development of the inflammatory lesion, the degree of degenerative-dystrophic processes, the beginning of a malignancy (malignancy) normal tissues and the emergence of the tumor. Importantly, MRI does not apply ionizing radiation like CT or x-ray, and it’s better and safer for the patient.

Indications for x-ray, CT and MRI of the abdomen

Examination of the abdominal cavity using x-rays (including contrast) is used:

  • urolithiasis and gallstone diseases;
  • pancreatitis, cholecystitis, the presence of abscesses;
  • intestinal obstruction;
  • tumors, diverticulitis;
  • penetrating and blunt injuries.

CT (including contrast) is used to:

  • detect and diagnose any pathological changes of the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen (inflammatory or neoplasm);
  • research of congenital and acquired anomalies in the structure of the intestine, determining the presence of pathological processes in the stomach;
  • obtain maximum information for injuries of internal organs;
  • studies of the neurovascular bundles.

MRI is also carried out to study the physical condition of all the organs of the abdominal cavity in diseases and injuries but, unlike other methods, it allows to determine the state of cell metabolism. And this is very important in the diagnosis of early stages of tumors or local damage of the nerves.

Which survey method to choose

If in a medical facility may hold only x-ray examination, to choose and not necessary. In these cases, it is necessary to consider all contraindications (pregnancy, lactation, hypersensitivity to the components of contrast, severe accompanying pathology) and a multiplicity of holding not more than 1 time per year.

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When the accessibility of the patient’s CT and MRI in the choice of method to the fore the peculiarities of pathology and contraindications. Second – ionizing radiation during CT, the cost of research and patient preferences. In any case, the doctor decides what is best for the patient, and determines indications for CT or MRI.

If you suspect internal bleeding, ulcer, acute intestinal obstruction or trauma of the abdomen, preferably computed tomography. At suspicion on oncological pathology, inflammatory processes, lesions of the nervous and vascular trunks needed an MRI. It can be carried out several times a year and help in dynamic monitoring of the patient. Pregnancy of 3 months and lactation are not contraindications.

Choosing the most informative method is always the doctor. Only he will be able to correctly determine the indications and contraindications to take into account to maximize the data obtained helped in the diagnosis and therapy.