The CT Scan Versus An MRI…A Guide To Understanding Your Health Screenings When You Have Ankle Pain After A Car Accident

If you or a loved one has recently been involved in a motor vehicle accident and is now experiencing significant ankle pain, the physician may order one or more tests of the area to determine the extent of your injuries. A CT scan, which could also be known as a CAT scan, and the MRI are two common tests you may be asked to undergo. Since they are both useful in certain situations, it is a good idea to be aware of the following information.

When Is The CT Scan Going To Be Useful?

If the doctor suspects that any of the bones in your ankle or foot are broken, you will usually need to get a CT Scan. It uses a small amount of radiation to create an image of bones and therefore, diagnosing a broken bone can often be done within minutes. While some muscular injuries can be found using a CT scan, the images are not as clear as they would be with the MRI, as explained later.

Its images will usually be in a spiral fashion; thus, the images are on-going, instead of individual pictures. One benefit of spiral imaging is that the pictures can be seen in 3D, which means that even a small fracture in an awkward spot is more easily seen by the doctor. However, if you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant, it is generally advised to delay the CT whenever possible.

Why Would An MRI Be Needed?

The MRI is a test you may be asked to receive if the physician thinks that your ankle pain is due to a soft tissue injury or if the CT scan did not confirm a broken bone. In emergency situations, the MRI is not always the first test to be suggested because it requires more time to complete than the CT.

It works by utilizing the hydrogen atoms in the areas around the injured area to create a radio signal that is then imaged and interpreted. It does not use any radiation and is very safe, but if you have metal implants anywhere in your body or a cardiac pacemaker, you are unlikely to be a good candidate for the procedure. The same is true if you have tattoos, so be sure to share any special health concerns with the doctor.

In conclusion, the use of a CT scan or an MRI will often establish the cause of your ankle pain after a car accident. Before consenting to either or both of the extremely safe and common tests, you should consider the information listed above. Contact a clinic like Hudson Valley Imaging for more information.