Is a PET scan better than an MRI?

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Is a PET scan better than an MRI?

In the Opinion of Medical Experts: Is a PET scan better than an MRI? 

We all know that the advancement of medical science is what took us to the stage where various diagnostic approaches lay used to bring forth a detailed report on your internal body structures and functions.


It stands crucial for us to understand that all diagnostic techniques shall not bear similar features & purposes, and that is precisely why so many of them exist today in healthcare centers!

While a PET scan, or Positron Emission Tomography Scan, is meant to look into the cellular levels and show your internal body functioning in detail, MRI, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging Test, is the one that creates in-depth imaging of your internal body structures!


We cannot really say one is better than the other! They stand significant in their own spectrum and try to offer an early diagnosis for early treatment!

Medical Experts say that the process of MRI is certainly safer than PET scan and more efficient in diagnosing cancers, but both approaches stand salient to medical imaging!

What is an MRI Scan Vs What is a PET Scan?

An MRI scan is the process in which magnets, radio waves, and a computer console lay used to generate high-quality in-detailed images of your internal body. They are the ones that can locate an abnormality hiding in deeper areas, like between your joints or white matter in the brain!

Yes. An MRI takes the credit of showing your soft tissues precisely, each of them distinguished from one another so that your doctor can understand which of your soft tissues lay vulnerable to threats! In fact, an MRI can show minor structural defects precisely!

During this test, a team of radiologists assists, who shall ask you to lie on a movable bed, and when you are ready, they shall push the table or bed into a long and narrow tube. This tube is the MRI scanner, resembling a donut, I must say! When the machine is on, the magnetic field shall trigger your body protons to send signals, and the radio waves, on encountering these signals, shall screen it on the computer

Such a process takes place for about 15 to 30 minutes on average! However, the duration may increase to 1 hour following the respective area of assessment. For all this while, you have to keep your eyes closed not to let anxiety set in and stay still in one position unless instructed otherwise!


PET scan is the process in which a radioactive tracer containing dye lay used alongside the scanner & computer console to generate accurate images of how your internal body is functioning. They are the ones to trace any lapse in your cognitive functions, abnormality in the functioning of your heart, insufficient or excessive absorption of sugar in your body, and so forth!

Perhaps, a PET scan holds the credit of highlighting cellular levels with dexterity & can show cancerous cells even when they do not start to build up and grow. Thus, your doctor can understand how your body is reacting to the cancerous cells and how they can nip it in its bud!

PET scans get typically conducted with a CT scan or MRI to offer an image of a complex systemic disease, and the process is more or less the same as an MRI or CT scan!

The team of radiologists assisting the test shall give you the radioactive glucose intravenously into your veins and wait for some time for the dye to get absorbed into your body. Then, you will have to lie on the moveable table and go inside the scanner. The dye shall help the machine capture the changes in your body functioning, thus, showcasing it on the computer screen!

PET scan is a fast process and lay done in 15 to 20 minutes at the max! But, in some cases, where the imaging isn’t clear on the screen, the test may extend to nearly one and a half hours! One more thing you need to note here is that you may have the ability to avoid side effects from approaching because the radioactive dye shall remain in your body for some more hours before they exit through urine or sweat!

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of PET Scan Vs MRI?


The advantages of PET scans

  • PET scan is not really expensive!
  • A PET scan has been in use in the healthcare industry for a long time now!
  • PET scan is an established process that offers better anatomic resolution!
  • A PET scan holds a better time capture!
  • PET scan is a non-invasive & quick diagnostic method!

On the other note, there exist some disadvantages too!

  • PET scans can bring risk factors and complications because of radiation exposure!
  • A PET scan requires you to fast for about eight to six hours before the test!
  • positron emission tomography (PET) scan can be too loud and noisy!
  • PET scan does not allow anyone to go to the scanner room with the patient!
  • positron emission tomography (PET) scan results can be inconclusive, at times, if the chemical balance within your body isn’t normal!
  • PET scans cannot be conducted if you are pregnant until prescribed by a doctor!

Now, coming to an MRI scan, there are, of course, both advantages and disadvantages. The former are as follows!

  • MRI scan is a non-invasive process & does not require a hospital stay!
  • This test does not involve radiation, and therefore the safest modality in medical imaging!
  • MRI scan does not require any special preparation!
  • This has an increased sensitivity to certain organs!
  • MRI scans can also assess your blood flow!
  • MRI scans can be conducted to check the growth of an unborn baby!

Yet, they bear some demerit that medical experts cannot help neglect, and they lay given down the line!

  • MRI scan is too expensive and limited in their availability!
  • This scan is suffocating, especially for patients having claustrophobia. It is because of the semi-enclosed space inside the machine!
  • MRI scan is incredibly loud & brings a rough creaking noise!
  • These scans cannot be conducted on patients having metallic implants like a pacemaker or dental metallic fillings, cochlear ear implants or metallic plates, etc. It is because metals can become a disruption in test accuracy!
  • MRI scan requires you to ditch your metallic accessories, makeup, and deodorant before the test!
  • MRI scans may sometimes involve the use of contrast dye to enhance the image clarity, and this dye is likely to bring a few mild side effects like nausea, itching, fatigue, etc.

Last Words:

Here we end our distinction between two scans today! I hope the blog served its purpose, and if not, you can write us your queries at

By the way,

Which test, according to you, is better – PET Scan or MRI? Let us know in the comment below!

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Mail us: [email protected]

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Hi, I am Alka Tiwari, Founder & Patient Care Executive at Helping you get the diagnostics scans services like MRI, CT Scan, UltraSound & PET Scan, etc at the best price. At MRIChandigarh's blog, I will be writing to create awareness and to educate you about how and where to get diagnostic scans done in Chandigarh at the best price with best-in-class services.
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