Doctors use lots of different imaging tools to get to the bottom of their patients’ health concerns. Ultrasounds and MRIs are two of the most common options. But what’s the difference between these two machines? And when do doctors usually choose each one? Let’s compare ultrasound vs. MRI technology below.

What is an Ultrasound?

Sound waves create the image during an ultrasound. When an ultrasound device is pressed against the body, these sound waves bounce off of surfaces under your skin. The result is an image that your doctor or nurse can view. While we usually think of pregnancy when we think of ultrasounds, these devices can be used elsewhere on the body, too.

What is an MRI?

MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. Like ultrasounds, MRIs help doctors see what’s going on inside of your body. However, MRIs do this by using a magnetic field and radio waves. MRIs can be used to see any part of the body.

Ultrasound vs. MRI: Comfort Level

Ultrasounds and MRIs are both relatively easy procedures. However, certain patients may find either one a bit uncomfortable. MRIs require patients to stay very still in an enclosed space, which can give some people anxiety. If this is you, then ask your doctor about sedation options.

Ultrasound vs. MRI for Imaging

Both tools produce high-quality images that your doctor can use to diagnose conditions or monitor your progress. Ultrasounds are more widely available, cheaper, and generally easier to use. However, they do not transmit well under bone. Therefore, MRIs are usually used to view images underneath bone or inside organs.

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