Frequently Asked Questions

Dr. Hamide answers patient's questions.At Capitol Imaging, we understand that most of our patients have never had an MRI or other imaging procedures before.  It’s normal to have questions and concerns before hand. Below are some of the questions commonly asked by patients before they received their first MRI or imaging procedure.

Please click the question for more information.

What does MRI stand for?

MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. MRI is state-of-the-art technology that allows your physician to see detailed images of the body. MRI is safe, painless, non-invasive, that does not expose the patient to radiation.

How does an MRI work?

95% of the human body is made up of water and hydrogen. In a magnetic field the hydrogen atoms in the body align with the magnetic field. A radio frequency is turned on and absorbed by the hydrogen atoms. When the radio frequency is turned off, the atoms emit a specific signal. This signal is transmitted to the computer which then forms the diagnostic images of the body.

MRI is especially suited for detecting disorders that increase fluid in diseased areas of the body.  The differentiation of tissues affected by infection, inflammation and tumor from healthy tissue is much easier with MRI than X-rays, Cat Scans or Ultrasound.

Are there any risks to MRI?

There are no known harmful effects from an MRI on the body. However, because of the strong magnet, patients who are pregnant, have pacemakers, neurostimulators, cochlear implants and other types of implants cannot have an MRI. You will be asked screening questions to make sure it is safe for you to have an MRI.

How should I prepare for the exam?

No special preparation is required prior to your MRI exam. You will be able to drink, eat and take medications as normal before your MRI exam. You will be asked several questions about your medical history. We will provide special instructions if necessary. Wear comfortable clothing, but make sure there are no metal parts to your clothing. You will not be allowed to bring your phone, credit cards, watch, hearing aids or any other electronic devices in the scan room.

Can I listen to music during the exam?

In most cases, Yes! However in some cases the imaging equipment may restrict the use of headphones.

Can I have someone with me during the exam?

Yes. However, your visitor must be screened for safety purposes.

What happens during an MRI?

You will lie on the scan table. The technologist will make you as comfortable as possible. A coil is placed around the area to be scanned. When the scanner is running, you may hear various types of knocking sounds. The technologist will ask you to remain still while the scanner is creating the images. Throughout the test, you will be able to speak to the technologist and listen to music.

How long does the MRI exam last?

Exam times will vary depending on the type of scan being done, but typically an MRI will run under an hour.

Is contrast used for an MRI?

Some MRIs will require a contrast agent to be used to enhance the images. Your referring physician or the radiologist will determine if a contrast is required. Patients over 60 years of age may be required to be tested for certain kidney disorders.

What is an MRA?

Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) is a method of scanning used to look at blood vessels and blood flow in a specific part of the body. MRA of the neck can screen for stenosis of the carotid arteries. MRA of the brain can screen for vascular malformation, aneurysm and vasculitis.

Will the CT exam hurt?

No, CT imaging itself is painless. During the examination CT imaging requires that the patient remain still. For some patients, keeping still for some time may be uncomfortable. The CT examination itself causes no bodily sensation.

Is CT imaging safe?

The medical benefits of a CT scan outweighs the risk of x-ray radiation exposure or injections, the use of sedatives and imaging contrasts during the scan. Patients should inform the technologist or Radiologist if they have a history of allergies (especially to medications, previous iodine injections, or shellfish), diabetes, asthma, a heart condition, kidney problems, or thyroid conditions.

How long does a CT take?

Depending on the type of exam ordered, the length of the procedure will typically be between 10 minutes and 45 minutes. A few more involved CT examinations may take longer than 45 minutes.

Also, many CT exams require the patient to hold their breath several times. This helps to eliminate blurring from the images, which can be caused by breathing or other patient motion. Please discuss specific questions about the duration of your CT imaging examination with the technologist before your exam.

Will I need an injection of contrast?

Not necessarily. The decision to use an injection of CT contrast is made based on the body part being examined. Not everyone needs an injection for CT imaging. When a contrast injection is ordered, a pharmaceutical contrast agent made of iodine is used. This is only done when the radiologist and/or the referring physician have determined that it is necessary for diagnostic purposes. Iodine contrast is used to make specific tissue types “stand out” with more image contrast in the resulting picture. This highlights the structure of the specific organs or vessel to better show the presence of disease or injury.

Are there special instructions when needing IV contrast?

Yes.  We ask that you fast at least 4 hours prior to your exam.  If you need to take medication, you may, with a small amount of water.

Can I take my medications the day of my CT exam?

Yes, it is fine to take your medication the day of your exam.

How soon will the results be available?

Your Capitol Imaging Center location will have your report to your physician within the next business day. However, it is not unusual for us to have your report available the same day. However, your physician may need additional time to properly evaluate your images.

We want to ensure that you are completely comfortable and well informed before your procedure.  If you don’t see the answer to your question here, or if you would like more information, a member of the Baton Rouge Imaging Team will be happy to help.