Choosing the proper test is critical to the care of your patient. However, your decision can be based on many factors.

MRI is generally the gold standard. In situations where results are extremely time sensitive (head trauma, disk disease), MRI is not available, cost is a limiting factor, or time under anesthesia is critical then a CAT scan may be a better diagnostic test. Occasionally, both tests are indicated if the disease might involve both bone and soft tissue.

Our Medical Director, Dr. Uzzle is available to discuss questions on which test is recommended in a particular situation, he can also draw on his extensive experience and on the expertise of a team of board-certified radiologists.

For more information please contact us and refer to the following general guidelines for selecting MRI and/or CAT Scanning.

General guidelines for selecting MRI and/or CAT Scanning

ProblemLocationMRICAT Scan
SeizureBrainBest testUseful if disease thought to extend into the brain from a boney structure and assessing ventricle size
Poor balance / Vestibular diseaseBrainstemBest testUseful for ear disease
Back or neck pain
Weak and wobbly
Spinal CordBest testUseful for visualizing mineralized disk material in spinal canalCan be combined with contrast study (myelogram)
LamenessElbowComplex fracture Best test
LamenessJoints (shoulder, knee, others)Best test 
Portosystemic shuntLiverMRI and CAT scan thought to be equally useful
Nasal dischargeNasal cavity and sinusesMRI and CAT scan thought to be equally useful
Cancer or other diseases in thoracic cavityLungs Best test
Cancer and disease in abdomenAbdomen Best test
Atlanto-axial subluxationVertebral malformationsVertebrae and spinal cordMRI best for spinal cord imaging but reconstruction CT best for defining location of the vertebrae