MRI scans are a lot safer than CT scans in most cases

I thought this post might help some if they have the choice between the two. Choose an MRI if possible!

Since I have so many CT and MRI scans, I thought I’d ask the Dr what has more cancer causing radiation… the answer surprised me in two ways

1: Not only does an MRI scan not cause cancer as it has no ionising radiation, 2% of all cancers are caused from CT scans. So a CT scan can cause cancer but an MRI does not have cancer causing radiation

  1. The Dr said sure, we can do Mris only from now on if you prefer… really? Why were you doing CT scans if we could just do safer MRIs?

There are some instances where a CT is better option but if you have the choice, choose MRI as it’s a LOT safer unless you have special circumstances so ask if an MRI is a better option

As I said, there may be times where a CT is better suited for some people such as TJ pointed our below as he has a ton of metal in his head

Hope it helps someone:)

Ps: since Dr told me, I have researched medical literature to double check and all the evidence does point to MRIs are a million times safer cancer causing wise than CT scans whatever way you look at it

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Hey AC,

I am NOT disagreeing with you. I think you are absolutely right. Except…

Some of us (me for instance) have, as part of the attempts to tame my AVM over the years, I have acquired a number of metal clips that attempt to keep the AVM under control. I have 11 metal clips from 1978 when I had my original surgery. I have a bunch more from 1987 when they did 6 different embolizations (or maybe it was 7) and used coils as part of what plugged the veins up. “Paper clips and crazy glue” as my doctor described it." The 2018 surgery that put me on the DL list (baseball term), the doctor said that he used “a ton” of clips and coils.

Every time I need “something” done there is always a debate on whether there are risks to an MRI vs. a CT scan. The risk stems mainly from whether an MRI will pull any of the clips out of place or loose or something like that. My most recent neuro surgeon said that he believes my days of MRIs are done because I’ve got too much metal in my head and neck. So, while for most people, MRIs are safer, for me, I’m a rare one and they aren’t.

Now for a little Saturday morning humor about metal clips and chest x-rays. I’ve had a number of chest x-rays related to this AVM thing but also other things (like potential pneunomina that might have broke a rib) and each time I would say to the X-ray tech, “Just a word of advice, if you see something just a little off, don’t worry about it.” “Huh?” I just smile and tell them to wait and see.

Done with the X-ray and the tech comes out, “Mr. Vanderwell, thank you so much for telling me, I would have called 911 or called your doctor or something in a total panic! Can you tell me a little bit about what that is?”

So I explain a bit of it to her and tell her to go home and ask Mr. Google what an AVM is. She said she’s going to do that and thanked me for furthering her education. Most of the X-ray techs I’ve worked with are quite often working towards further education and a larger role in the medical world. Maybe I helped them learn a little on that day…



Thanks TJ

I edited post to reflect that so as to not give misinformation

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I remember going for my first MRI, a couple of days after joining here. I asked the radiographer, “See anything interesting?”


“Surprised I’m still walking around?”


And so I was just that bit more relieved at what might become of me.

It’s important to laugh at ourselves when we can, especially when you’ve got as frightening a situation as you, TJ. It is also good to be able to help some of the medicos in understanding more about what we’ve got. I had an “auscultatable bruit” and offered to at least a couple of docs to have a listen. “Absolutely textbook” apparently. Shame the primary/GP didn’t use a stethoscope from the very beginning.

Well done both. Nice share!


And then there’s the time I gave my laryngologist the okay to share a view of the worst candidate fungal infection he’d ever seen in someone’s throat. “Can I show my partner?”


“Hey Fred! Get in here, you have GOT TO SEE THIS ONE!”



Like I say, you have to keep laughing. It’s the only way.

Had a biopsy on my prostate last week (still VERY bruised in places noone should have even a small bruise) and today had a scan of my kidneys. So I asked the sonographer “anything interesting?” No, fortunately. I told her I’ve won the ‘Most Interesting Patient Of The Day’ award before and it’s much better not to win that one, as we all know.

Diversion ends, hopefully.

Just to chime in, if you have a magnetic shunt installed, you probably should let the technicians know because after an MRI they need to adjust your shunt. Blessings as you all continue!


Information about metalwork in our heads (or elsewhere) should always be on page 1 of our medical record, on our mobile phone “emergency” medical information or in our “Backpack” medical info. I was refused an MRI in 2018 because the radiographer didn’t have info about what was in my head and wouldn’t believe I was “just glue”. So we had to wait for the hospital to request the record from where I had my embolization before they would MRI me.


I have a metal bracelet that says on the back “Programmable shunt avoid magnets (MRI’s)”. I suppose I should mention, I did have multiple MRI’s post surgery. But the reason for the bracelet for me is to remind me and the technician to have shunt adjusted after the MRI. It’s a painless quick adjustment they do with an small plastic dial but it’s potentially life and death if you have encephalitis or similar conditions.