CT vs MRI in Australia

Written by Dr Joy Yip - BSc (Med) MBBS (UNSW) MPH (USYD)
CT - Computed Tomography
MRI - Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Ionising radiation
No ionising radiation
Multiple X-rays computed
Radio waves / magnetic fields
Slight increased risk of cancer
No increased risk of cancer
Unsafe in pregnancy
No known risk but avoided in pregnancy
Scans takes around 5-10 minutes
Scans take 30 minutes or longer
  • Part rebate from Medicare
  • Some practices bulk billing
  • Few rebates from Medicare
  • Few practices bulk billing
Hundreds of locations in Australia
Dozens of locations in Australia
CT - Computed Tomography
MRI - Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Better at imaging:
  • bony structures
  • abdominal organs
  • lungs
Better at imaging:
  • muscles
  • ligaments
  • tumours
Metal implants OK
Metal implants potentially dangerous
Cardiac devices mostly OK
Cardiac devices may malfunction
Cochlear implants usually OK
Cochlear implants may be affected
Insulin pumps usually OK
Insulin pumps may malfunction
Contrast agents:
  • Iodine
  • Barium or Gastrograffin
Contrast agents:
  • Gadolinium
  • Manganese