10 Major Differences Between X-Ray and MRI

The development of medical technology has allowed for non-invasive examination of what is happening inside our bodies by doctors. This enables a diagnosis to be made with little expense and little disruption to the patients. The first of these technologies is X-ray, which was created in the late 1900s. It makes use of vacuum tube radiation. Soft tissue can be penetrated by the radiation, but not bones. The passing radiation deposits itself onto a photographic plate, which is then processed to produce the finished image.

Since it was developed nearly a century after X-rays, it makes sense that an MRI is more advanced but still capable of performing the same task. You can infer from the name Magnetic Resonance Imaging that magnetic fields are used to create the image. In its most basic form, an MRI aligns the magnetic moments of protons that are in the water in our bodies using a powerful magnetic source, such as a stationary magnet or an electromagnet. RF is used to temporarily introduce an electromagnetic field. The molecules realign as a result, and then gradually reorient themselves. The scanner then measures and displays the speed at which these molecules realign on a computer screen. Contrast material is frequently injected into the patient to enhance the image.

The danger of prolonged exposure to X-rays is the main issue with them. Damage may result from radiation that enters soft tissue. This is the reason why we are unable to perform numerous X-rays at once. As MRIs do not introduce any materials into the body, they do not have these issues. It is standard procedure to capture numerous cross-sectional images of the body during a single MRI scan so that medical professionals have a larger library of data to work with. These photos can be converted into 3D images thanks to computer technology advancements. It almost resembles opening up the body and peering directly at the organs inside, which would facilitate and improve the accuracy of the diagnosis.

Definition of X-Ray

X-rays are a highly advanced body scan that are frequently utilized in hospitals because of it’s readily availability. They generate radiations that can see through bone, flesh, and other materials to expose any issues.

The less dense tissue is typically shown in a grey tone on an X-ray film, which is typically whitish in color. Sometimes an x-ray film makes these bodily tissues difficult to see.

The x-rays have a limited range but are not dangerous to a person. When treating a pregnant woman, many doctors take extra care.

Typically, an X-ray machine and photographic film are placed on either side of the body. While the machine transmits radiation through the body, the patient must remain still.

Tumors, fractures, bone regeneration, and infections are the disorders that require X-ray services most frequently in the body.

Definition of MRI


MRI is a diagnostic imaging technology that creates a precise cross-section of the body using both the magnetic field and radioactive radiation.

Only the area of the body that requires examination is subjected to the technique. A computer-generated image is produced when fat and water molecules resonate in the bones or tissue as a result of radioactive waves and magnetic fields.

An MRI body scan creates a clear image of smaller tissues such ligaments, bones, blood vessels, discs, and cartilage.

The procedure typically lasts 90 minutes, during which the patient receives intravenous medications that aid in making body tissues visible.

Key Differences Between X-Ray and MRI

  • The body is exposed to harmful ionizing radiation during an X-ray, but not during an MRI.
  • For evaluating soft tissues, MRI is used, whereas X-rays are preferred for evaluating bones.
  • MRI costs more than X-rays.
  • X-ray imaging takes only a few seconds, but depending on the component that needs to be analyzed, MRIs can take several minutes.
  • MRI offers greater versatility than X-rays.
  • X-rays offer more information about bones than MRI does.
  • X-rays do not provide as much information in soft tissues as an MRI does.

Similarities between X-Ray and MRI

  • Both present in-depth images
  • Each use radiation
  • Experts in the hospital use both procedures.
  • Both aid in identifying health issues


What is the difference between X-ray and MRI?

X-rays can be used to diagnose injuries and masses inside the body more quickly than MRI images because they are more easily accessible. MRIs may provide more precise, in-depth imaging of tissues and organs, including the brain. Compare a few X-ray and MRI examples to discover how they differ.

Which is better MRI or X-ray?

Because they are more adaptable, MRIs are used by clinicians to examine a wide range of medical disorders. For instance, x-rays are more frequently used to examine damaged bones, but they can also aid in the discovery of sick tissue. MRIs work better for assessing soft tissues such brain tumors, spinal cord injuries, and tendon and ligament injuries.

What does an MRI do that an X-ray doesn’t?

A strong magnet is used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to transmit radio waves through the body. The body’s protons respond to the radiation and draw extremely accurate representations of its internal organs, including its soft tissues, nerves, and blood arteries. MRIs employ no radiation, in contrast to CT scans and X-rays.

Why do I need an X-ray before an MRI?

The X-ray enables biomechanical evaluation of the bony structures and their relationships and articulations. Additionally, radiographs can be taken while the patient is bearing weight, allowing for the evaluation of the joint space while gravity is at play.

Why do doctors refuse MRI?

36 out of the 39 doctors (92%) did not order the MRI at the first visit. All 36 told the patient that they didn’t want the test because there was no medical reason for it. Seven of these 36 doctors (19%) also said that the cost of the test and the need to cut health care costs were reasons why they didn’t want to do it.

What can be diagnosed by MRI?

Brain tumors, traumatic brain injury, developmental abnormalities, multiple sclerosis, stroke, dementia, infection, and headache causes can all be found with MRI technology.


Key phrases that are frequently used in medical offices are X-ray and MRI. These two body scan devices carry out distinct duties with various goals in mind.

However, these are important imaging procedures that are frequently performed in hospitals all over the world, so it is wise to be aware of their variations.

I hope the information was helpful. Share your thoughts on the two body scans using the comment space below.