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Should I Get a CT Scan or MRI for an Auto Accident Head Injury?

Head trauma is a very common auto accident injury. In some instances, head injuries may be minor, like a headache or a bump. In other situations, they can be extremely concerning. In severe cases, a medical professional will give you orders to undergo either a CT scan or an MRI. While most people may not know the difference between the two, it’s imperative to understand why each is used, what their benefits are, and which one is best for you.

What Is a CT Scan?

Computed Tomography (CT) scans use X-ray imaging to create detailed images of your brain and skull. CT scans are relatively quick and can help identify any abnormalities or injuries, including fractures. They are excellent for imaging major traumas such as fractures or bleeding that require surgery and intervention. A CT scan is typically cheaper and quicker than an MRI, making it a popular choice in the ER. CT scans may miss smaller abnormalities, though, so an MRI is more effective in specific situations.

When is a CT Scan Appropriate?

When it comes to head injuries, the severity determines which type of imaging is best. In situations where there are severe symptoms such as significant dizziness, confusion, seizures, and severe vomiting an emergency CT scan is necessary to rule out life-threatening conditions like bleeding in the brain. If severe cognitive deficits are present, CT scans are also appropriate.

What Is an MRI?

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is another popular imaging study used after a head injury. MRIs do not use radiation; rather, they use magnetic waves and radio waves to generate detailed images of the brain and soft tissues. Detailed brain imaging is crucial in detecting subtle abnormalities, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries. MRIs are also better geared to assessing long-term effects and volumes of structural damage. Nevertheless, MRIs are more expensive and take longer to get results.

When Is an MRI Appropriate?

When it comes to detailed imaging of the brain, and identifying subtle abnormalities, MRIs are the best diagnostic tool. MRIs are useful for assessing the seriousness of a head injury, especially when dealing with repeated head trauma. They can also identify potentially dangerous abnormalities that were missed in the CT scans.

Consult With Your Medical Professional

While understanding the difference between CT scans and MRIs is helpful, it may be challenging to determine which one is right for you. Before undertaking any imaging, seek medical attention promptly, and remember to consult with your medical professional, who will advise you on which test is necessary to guide the best treatment plan.

Get the Care You Need to Recover From a Head Injury at Impact Medical Group

If you or a loved one has been in an auto accident, Impact Medical Group of Brandon specializes in helping people recover from head injuries caused by auto accidents. Our medical professionals are experienced in treating different head injuries and will provide the necessary imaging tools to facilitate the best treatment plan. Call us today at (813) 522-8885 to schedule your free medical evaluation.