Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Bone Scan and MRI

Bone Scan vs MRI

The bone scan is a type of test that is referred to as a nuclear scanning test that will check the areas of bone growth and breakdown.  The bone scan works to determine the damages that have been inflicted in the bone structures, or to check the spread of cancer to the bones.  At times, the scanning is done to check if there are infections to the bone.  The MRI, on the other hand, uses a magnetic field to capture images of internal organs and see if they are still functioning very well.  The MRI is generally called as the Magnetic Resonance Imaging.  The MRI is the type of test that will take the images of the internal organs and check if there are any abnormalities inside.  In fact, the MRI can determine in more accurate ways the problems that cannot be seen in other imaging systems.

Simply put, the MRI will scan and work on all the internal organs while the bone scan focuses on the bones and the structures of the joints.  The bone scan uses this radioactive tracer that is generally injected into the vein.  It then travels into the bloodstream and works itself into the bones of the body.  The gamma camera is a special device that is generally created to capture the images of the tracer inside the bones.  The MRI, on the other hand, works with this machine with a strong magnet.  Pictures of the internal organ are then captured and stored inside a computer system that will be used for further study and tests.

The reasons behind the tests are also somewhat similar, as they will basically determine the extent of the disease in a person.  However, there are some tests that an MRI can do that a bone scan cannot.  One of them is that the MRI can review the chest, the heart, the valves and coronary blood vessels.  The bone scan is not able to do this.  Alternatively, the MRI can give clearer resonance images of the blood vessel to determine any blockages in the arteries.  Again, the bone scan cannot do this.  Bone scans work simply on the outer core of the joints.  Further evaluation to determine the extent to the damage to the bones is done with the MRI.

In essence, the Bone scanner uses a nuclear radioactive tracer that will only scan the layers that are on the outside of the joints.  It cannot accurately determine whether there are any abnormal bone growths in the area.  The MRI will uses the magnetic image technology to capture an in depth image that will help in the detailed analysis of the structures.  MRI tests are more expensive because of this benefit.


1.MRI uses magnetic fields to capture images of the internal organs such as bones and joints while the Bone scan uses nuclear radioactive technology.
2.The Bone scan will focus only on the outer layer of the bones while the MRI will further determine the extent of the damage.
3.The MRI works on other parts of the body like the heart, the blood vessels and the like while the bone scan focuses only on the bones and the joints.
4.MRI scans are more expensive than the Bone scans.

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