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Difference Between MRI and PET Scan

MRI vs PET Scan

At times, during accidents pertaining mostly to brain injuries, doctors rely on imaging machines in order to help them diagnose a particular disease. When someone has a brain stroke, doctors don’t guess but they seek help among these machines. The same with other deadly and fatal conditions such as cancers as these imaging machines help the doctors better.

These imaging machines came to life due to the best abilities of humans provided by God in order to help each other and the whole of mankind. With the said machines, diagnosis of disease becomes much easier. Two of these widely used machines are the PET scan and MRI. These machines are non-invasive meaning no incision and no penetration will be done when the body is being tested. What can be difference of the two?

“MRI” stands for “Magnetic Resonance Imaging.” It works by measuring the magnetic activities of the electrons and protons plus the other atoms when the said components get the energy. Previously, it has a nuclear word that is attached to it but it was removed eventually. It was first invented at the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom in the 1970’s. An MRI works by using a magnetic field that can provide images and can distinguish unhealthy tissues from the healthy tissues. A contrast can be injected via a vein to enhance the imaging of the structure, but it depends on the physician. Patients who have tattoos, patients with pace makers embedded in the heart, or those with metal structures inside the body cannot undergo an MRI scan.

A PET scan, on the other hand, stands for “Positron Emission Tomography.” It gauges the emitted positron emitting molecules such as oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen. Thus, much valuable information can be extracted from this diagnostic machine unlike the MRI scanner. Another difference from the MRI is that is shows the molecular activity plus the function. It can also differentiate between cancerous tissues and healthy tissues. PET scans can produce 3D or three-dimensional images. PET scans cannot replace other imaging machines. PET scans are thus used in conjunction with MRIs and CT scans. It was conceptualized in the 1950’s and then was manufactured by the University of Pennsylvania.


1.“MRI” stands for “Magnetic Resonance Imaging” while “PET” stands for “Positron Emission Tomography.”
2.MRIs work by using magnets by measuring the electrons and protons while a PET scan measures a more specific molecular activity of the protons and neutrons via the oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen from humans.
3.The PET scan was developed earlier in the 1950’s while the MRI was developed during the 1970’s.

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