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Three Tests You May Need After a Car Accident (CT scan, MRI, X-ray)

Being in a car accident can be a traumatic experience—one that doesn’t just affect you physically but also mentally and emotionally. While some accidents may leave you with minor injuries, others can cause debilitating ones that require immediate medical attention. In many cases, medical professionals will perform different tests to diagnose the extent of your injuries and determine what treatments are necessary. Read on to learn all about three of the most common tests you may need after a car crash: CT scans, MRIs, and X-rays.

CT scan

A CT scan, also known as a computed tomography scan, is a non-invasive, painless test that helps doctors diagnose various medical conditions, including those resulting from a car accident. It combines X-ray images with computer technology to produce detailed images of your body’s internal structures. CT scans are especially useful in identifying internal bleeding, bone fractures, and organ damage. They can also detect blood clots or hemorrhages in the brain caused by head trauma, which can prevent severe complications such as stroke.

Getting a CT scan can seem daunting, but it’s a quick and easy procedure that can provide crucial information about your health. CT scans typically take between 15 and 30 minutes, depending on the area being examined. During the scan, you’ll lay still on a table that moves through the scanner while a series of pictures are taken. Don’t worry about feeling claustrophobic—CT machines are open at both ends and the technician will communicate with you throughout the process. It’s important to get a CT scan if your doctor recommends it, as it can help detect and diagnose injuries that may be unseen.


A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test uses a magnetic field and radio waves to generate detailed images of different body parts. MRIs are particularly useful in diagnosing soft tissue injuries such as those to the neck, spinal cord, or back, which can be challenging to spot with other imaging techniques. An MRI can also detect damage to muscles, tendons, and ligaments, as well as pinpoint inflammation or infection in the body.

Many people might feel apprehensive at the thought of getting an MRI scan, but it’s important to know this procedure isn’t as frightening as its reputation might suggest. An MRI scan only takes around 30 minutes to an hour. You’ll need to lie still inside a narrow tube-like machine that makes various noises. The MRI machine uses a magnetic field and radio waves to produce detailed images of your body’s internal structures. While the machine can seem a bit intimidating at first, there’s no pain involved and the whole process is actually quite peaceful.


X-rays are the most common diagnostic tool used to detect fractures or breaks in bones. They use low levels of radiation to take images of your body’s internal structures. Like CT scans, X-rays can identify internal injuries such as damage to organs or internal bleeding caused by trauma. They can also detect injuries such as chipped or broken teeth due to the force of impact.

Thankfully, this is a simple and easy procedure that won’t take much time – usually only about 10 to 15 minutes! It’s completely painless. So, there’s really nothing to be afraid of when it comes to getting an X-ray taken.

Seek Medical Attention After a Car Accident

If you’ve been in a car accident, it’s vital to seek medical attention, even if you don’t feel any immediate pain or symptoms. Your doctor may perform one or more tests to diagnose your injuries accurately, CT scans, MRIs, and X-rays being the most common. These tests can help identify injuries that are not visible to the naked eye, such as internal bleeding, and can help your doctor determine the best course of treatment.

Remember, prompt medical attention can help prevent long-term complications and speed up your recovery. Call the medical team at Impact Medical Group of St. Petersburg today at (727) 722-8103 to schedule your free medical evaluation, so you can fully recover after an accident.