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Body Scans of two Women: 250lb vs 120lb [Pic]

Picture above shows the thermal body scans side by side of 250 lb. woman versus 120 lb. woman.

Author:   Date posted: Jan 12th, 2010
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What do you think?

  • Greg

    Hi there,

    The images of the 250 and 120 pound women is not a thermal body scan. I don’t know if it’s an MRI or cat scan, but the slice goes through their bodies, and clearly shows internal organs and the bones in their arms and legs. This is much more informative than thermal imaging anyway. You may have heard the saying that inside a fat person is a skinny person trying to get out. The muscles seem to look about the same, but the over layering with fat is pretty evident in these images.

    I like your site. Keep up the good work.


  • Batman

    Sorry Greg…but uhh..MRI and cat scans are for the brain. and not all of the internal organs are shown. and the muscles are totally different. The 250 lb woman’s body has to work more when moving around because she has more weight. It would be like the skinny woman walking around weigh weights on her arms and legs.So the 250 lb woman’s muscles are bigger.

  • 4030lisa

    Simply amazing what the human body will endure! I cannot help but to focus on the skeletal distortions in the 250 lb frame, my goodness, they CANNOT be comfortable with the frame at such a scu…the ‘hang’ of the shoulders, the odd slant of the legs due i’m sure to the pressure, and further down what appears to be cumulative damage to the ankle joints.

    I am in hopes for this person that they are un a weight loss program of some sort, I cannot imagine what quality of life they must have but am sure that it would greatly ease their day to day living to reduce those enormous pressures and possibly subsequent pain they must surely be feeling at this weight.

    How very stunning, amazing and wonderful to have this view of the differences!

  • PodDOC

    most likely its a combo pet/ct scan , high resolution maybe 120 slice…MRI’s and CT are not for just the head and neck , MRI’s are freq used in the evaluation soft tissue throughout the body…ie , looking at ruptured tendons

  • Jay

    Batman, MRI’s and CT scans can be used on all types of tissues, not just the brain, in fact they can do “slices” of the body just like this one… but I don’t think we have an MRI large enough to do it. they probably did it with a multitude of images and put a larger one together.

  • noexistence

    Sorry Batman…but uhh..MRI and CT scans can be performed on the full body. I’ll let you Google it. ;)

    This is probably a full-body MRI that was then colored in after-wards.

  • dd

    These scans are taken while the person is lying down, so that accounts for some of the positional weirdness.

    And they are MRI scans. MRI is most often used for brains, but can be used for any body part – it takes an image of consecutive slices of whatever it is scanning.

    You can actually see that the scans are of slightly different portions of each person’s body by looking at the brain portion of the scan. The fatter person’s scan is more central to the brain while the thinner person’s scan is more towards the back(in that scan you can see the part that connects to the spinal cord hanging down).

    Pretty cool images

  • Trollview360

    Batman, MRI and CAT scans are used on any part of the body (or other objects that fit inside the machines.

  • Arashi

    Hey Batman,

    I’m not sure what kind of scan this is, but just as an fyi, MIR and CT scans are done for the whole body, not just the brain. It’s not an MRI because bone is black on MRI. It’s also not CT because the fluid in the bladder should not be that dark, nor should the muscles be colored.

  • km

    Batman: Clearly you’ve never had a scan done, because you can MRI or CT scan any part of the body that will fit into the machine. It’s a hugely important diagnostic tool.

  • fatbob

    This is an actuall slice through a real body. Check out (google) Gunter von Hagen’s work and you will see more very interesting techniques of plastinating tissue and corpes. This guy is not without his critics, but what he does in terms of educating is amazing. I’ve seen one of his exhibitions and whenever you have the chance to go to “Koerperwelten” – do it. You will never look at your body the same way before.

  • RedRobyn

    MRI and CT scans can be used for any part of the body. Check your facts Batman.

    I would love to show this picture to all the over weight people that are convinced there is nothing unhealthy about it. After seeing this you’d have to be crazy to think being over weight is not detrimental to your health.

  • lydia

    1)mri and cat scans can be performed on any area of the body.

    2) true while it does require more energy to move a larger mass, there is not a significiant requirement in increase in mass of muscle to more that additional fat. you can observe this by looking at the relative size of the muscles above.

    3) the image is showing internal organs with detail. something that thermal imaging can not do. that was what greg is referencing. in order to view ALL organs, one would need several images along the coronal plane.

    ps. betting you’re not that bright. also, fat.

  • DriverX

    Golly Batman….you’re wrong. MR and CT are not just for the brain. MR typically shows soft tissue (muscles skelatal connections) and CT is often used to image bone and organs. You can see hearts, lungs, liver, and bowel in both scans. I don’t know what you’re talking about with the muscles. You can see muscles of both women. The 250 pounder has the same musculature it’s just surrounded by more fat.

  • Fearofthewalnut

    This is old as it gets…wasn’t this in a 2003 National Geographic?

  • Az

    MRI isnt limited to the brain at all, it can do the whole body, but is usually used in limited regions simply as the scans take so long to do. These images are sections through the body, more than likely something similar to the total body project from a few years ago.

  • Niranjan

    Greg is right. This is definitely NOT a thermal scan. Batman: MRI / CT (CAT) are not just for the brain, they can and are regularly used to image any part of the body.

    This not a standard medical scan. If it was genuine it would have to be a false colour composite as no single current medical imaging modality will produce this kind of image. It is most likely primarily a false colour MRI. There is something very fishy about the whole thing, in particular the brain of the fat person seems to have two symmetrical fat deposits where her temporal lobes should be (I spend my life looking at brain scans) which rather points to the whole thing being a big fat fake.

    (I’m a doctor)

  • Dan

    The 250lb person even has fat in his/her brain!!!!

  • wingnut

    Batman, both CAT and MRI scans can be used on the whole body, not just the brain. Not sure which this is tho. But it’s definitely not thermal imaging!

  • Bored Panda

    Thanks for correcting me guys.

  • stewartwb

    These aren’t MRI or CT scans. They appear to be images created via cryo-slices, in which a cadaver is frozen in a block of gelatin and very thin slices are shaved off (destroyed) starting at the top of the head, and a high-resolution photograph is taken of the exposed layer. These images are then processed via computer to make various photo-realistic images of any slice through the body, even slices in different directions than the original slice was made.
    The first time this was done on a complete human body was the Visible Human Project (back in the mid-1990s). Due to the age of the project, the info is not easy for non-scientists to follow online (the videos and animations are in the Real Audio format, since Flash and MP4 didn’t exist yet.

    This web site has a brief synopsis and a photo, which you’ll notice looks very similar to the ones we’re discussing.

    Here is the official web site:

    – Brian

  • obidon


    MRI: “Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI), is primarily a medical imaging technique most commonly used in radiology to visualize detailed internal structure and limited function of the body.”

  • James


    I was under the impression those were the big girl’s eyes… I was trying to see if I could tell if the skinny person was laying on her stomach(you can’t the the spots thar) and the fat girl was on her back.

  • GuruScan

    This is certainly not a thermal scan, and it is also not a PET/CT or an MRI. It is a false-color whole-body CT image. PET uses a radioactive tracer to build images of “hot spots” (i.e. cancer cells) and has no ability to provide anatomical images. While it is true that both CT and MRI can be used to create anatomical images of tissue and muscle, MRI does not do a very good job at imaging bones. CT is strongly preferred for skeletal images. The false colorization is done by computer – and yes, it is quite typical for hospitals to have this capability. Most major scanner manufacturers have highly advanced algorithms for applying appropriate colors to CT and MRI images.

  • GuruScan

    Niranjan – the “two symmetrical fat deposits where her temporal lobes should be” are likely the eye sockets. These images are “slices” – a cross-section of the body, and I would guess that these two images are not in the same vertical plane. Just my educated guess…

  • Ashley

    Dan, that’s not fat in the brain… that’s the cerebellum. Clearly the images of the brain were taken from two different places. Either way, this really doesn’t look like a scan of a living person because it looks like the body slices I saw in the San Diego Natural History Museum exhibit, Body Worlds.

  • proud250

    well in all honestly i weigh 252 at 5’2 28 years of age and i’ve been this way almost all my life i’ve never known what it’s like to be small although maybe one day i will so i could truly have a comparison to how things feel on a normal day to day action my movement is regular other then some shortness of breath doing certain activitys but i smoke also. i’m in no pain my feet do not hurt (unless some uncomfortable shoes are worn) my legs don’t get sore no muscule spasims or back pain my elbows pop now and then there is a slight discomfort when i sleep because when i lay on my side my shoulders tend to go up making me feel a little like a turtle and the only pain i do feel is those who look at me and feel bad for me and try to imagin what it’s like to be this big everyone is different how i feel may not be the same for the next but i feel fine i’m sure it does take more energy to move then someone half my size but i don’t have high blood preasure i’m not lazy i lead a pretty active life a normal life to most just bigger i havent found anything that makes me think my heath is truely at risk i’m not diabetic i walk i run i’m a black belt in tae kwon doe i do gymnastics every so often i’m pretty flexible for my size i think.

  • BrainExpert

    Ashley, clearly you shouldn’t be commenting on neuroanatomy. What you are calling the cerebellum is indeed the orbital fat lining the eyesockets of the 250 lb woman. The orbits are just anterior to the temporal lobes but indeed outside of the cranial vault. The cerebellum is located far posterior of this section (in the back of the brain) which shows parts of the anterior cingulate, the anterior horns of the lateral ventricles, and some basal forebrain structures. You don’t see the orbital fat in the 120lb woman because the section shown cuts through her brain at a most posterior level (towards the back of the brain) than the 250 lb woman.

  • podDOC


    this is a high resolution pet/ct image

  • Beavis

    Wow, only one person in this entire thread has based their comment on facts.

    These are photographs, not scans of physical slices of human cadavers. Frozen bodies sliced up thin. Really.

  • sara

    This photo is from a national geographic article from Aug. 2004 entitled The Heavy Cost of Fat. Here is how it was taken:

    “Two women, (one 250 pounds, 5’6″, 40.3 BMI, the other 120 pounds, 5’5″, 20 BMI), spent five hours under a state-of-the-art open scanner to get a high resolution magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI).”

    Here is the article:

  • Proud120

    Dear Proud 250,

    For the love of all that is holy, learn how to SPELL. I do not care how big you are, but if you’re going to take a certain position on something, please bring a dictionary with you next time. I have no idea what you were trying to say, because I kept getting tripped up on all of your damn spelling and grammatical errors. I was embarrassed enough for you that you were trying to tell everyone that you feel just fine at 5’2″ and 250lbs, but I am exponentially more embarrassed for you that you seem to have not made it past a fourth grade education.

  • anon

    lol @ fat people.

  • Scott

    A stint in humanitarian aid in Rwanda or Ethiopia would put some sense into most obese people. 1) Every time they THINK they should eat, look around at the truly in need. 2) There will be no 24-hr “fast food” places around, and you’ll have to walk to get food. 3) You’ll also have to run to keep out of the grips of starving villages — one can feed the many.

  • jonno

    to batman, MRI’s arnt only for the brain, i tore the ligement in my knee and needed 3 MRI’s a year to check it, i got a knee reconstruction and the MRI checks it all, but awesome site. love all the pics

  • rebecca

    Hi, which agency are the scan pics from?

  • Nikki

    Wow… That’s… Scary. I’m glad I’m not 250lbs >< and never will be, thank you very much!

  • BooingBear

    omg, that looks like my mom (250 ibs) to me o.o owch

  • Nocturnesthesia

    These are coronal views of cadavers, I saw them at the Body Worlds exhibit in Buffalo. This appears to be a photo of posters, but I got to see the actual cadavers, it was quite interesting.

    But yes, as someone who has a degree in biology, I can say this is a strong visual for an issue of which people often fail to see the true significance.

  • Kylie

    This picture was in my psychology textbook last year. I took it to the professor to ask why the fat person’s brain has two lumps that are not seen in the skinny person’s brain. He said the two pics are sliced at different points in the body.

  • Bob B. Bobberson

    Did they died?

  • Lillith

    Just like with everything else in the world, if you don’t like fat people or want to be fat then don’t date, spend time with, or associate with fat people and don’t become fat.

    People just like the feeling of righteous indignation, apparently.

    Seriously, it’s none of yout business how another person lives their life.

    And before anyone has a fit about how I’m obviously fat, I’m 5’8″ and I weigh 170. I’m average out the ass.

    As for the dumbass that went on and on about Ethiopians and how obese people should think about them before eating… you obviously don’t know much about obesity or humanity, dipshit.

  • Maxter

    one was 120 pounds the other 250 and they both still died. And I thought skinny people stayed healthy and lived forever.

  • Ben

    I am a man. I weigh 320 pounds and I am 6’4. I can out run, jump higher, lift more massive weight and outlast most men in any extreme environment. I can stand down a charging raging bull or any thing that comes at me. Thin people are just slim pickings and an easy targets.

    The thinner a person is, makes it hard for them to survive during times of famine or in dire survival situations. 10 extra pounds of body weight or more, is good for you. It is needed insulation and a backup storehouse of energy. You need it for times of fasting or starvation.

    The people that are picking on big persons have no clue as to what it is like for most obese people. It isn’t about eating. It is about mobility and exercise. As a personal trainer I see more thin people struggle than I do heavier people. Thin people tend to think that they don’t have to work as hard, because they are thin… and they are wrong.

    The average thin person suffers more from high cholesterol, respiratory problems, heart problems, vitamin deficiencies, etc. than heavier people. They also have more stress and fatigue than heavier people. I have worked with and dealt with lots of different sized people, so I think I am a better judge than most. So you need to take your feet our of your mouths because you probably aren’t healthy. Most heavy people have no health problems at all, they are just big. Big doesn’t mean unhealthy.

    BTW Obesity is mostly a genetic problem. People that are obese cannot lose the weight like most average persons can. And that reason being is in their DNA. You can’t change a persons DNA to be what you want it to be; just because you think it’s sickening or wrong. How would you feel, to be alienated for your size or lack there of?

    • Blah

      The scary part is it sounds like you actually have yourself convinced you know what you’re talking about…

    • JScott

      … Are you nuts? All of the information in your last two paragraphs is flatly wrong. Anorexia is a terrible disorder that is equally as bad as obesity, with severe health consequences, but working with obese people trying to get fit is different than examining them as patients on a daily basis. Your background gives you little to no information on the deeper health problems of obesity. “Most heavy people have no health problems at all” is a completely, irredeemably false statement, as is the statement about obesity primarily being a genetic problem.

      Most heavy people suffer from: weakened joints/joint pain often leading to knee and hip replacement, weakened cardiovascular system, damaged organ function, etc. Big DOES mean unhealthy, as does excessively skinny. There’s no arguing with that scientific fact.

    • LiquefiedPanda

       I’m a biomedical scientist who specialises in Anatomy. Your facts in the second to last paragraph are completely wrong, I don’t know who you’ve got them off.
      I presume as you have managed to reach 320 pounds you are not in a area of hardship. So why do you need to carry enough body weight to survive a time of famine?
      Please don’t post incorrect statements, it may mislead others.