Nuclear Medicine

A nuclear medicine scan uses a special camera and a small amount of radioactive material to create pictures of your organs (such as your heart, lungs, liver, and gallbladder) and bones. Nuclear medicine scans may be used to both diagnose and treat disease.

For Patients

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Before Your Scan

  • Be sure to mention the medicines you take and ask if it is OK to take them before your test.
  • You will be given a tracer (radioactive material). It may be injected, swallowed or inhaled. If injected, you will get an IV line. Your scan may then be done right away, or you may need to wait a few hours or even days to allow the tracer to concentrate in the part of the body being studied. You may be scanned multiple times during one day depending on the type of nuclear scan you need.
  • Let the technologist know if you:
    • Are pregnant or breastfeeding
    • Have had a nuclear medicine scan before
    • Have had a recent barium study or X-ray using contrast
    • Have any fractures or artificial joints
    • Have any allergies

During Your Scan

  • The technologist will help position you onto the scanner table. Your position and how much of your body will be inside the CT will depend upon the body part being scanned.
  • A large camera is placed close to your body.
  • Remain as still as you can while the camera takes the pictures. This will ensure the best images.
  • The table or camera may be adjusted to take more images.

After Your Scan

  • Drink plenty of water to help clear the tracer from your body.
  • After the exam, your images will be sent electronically to a radiologist who will review the information and send a report to your referring provider. You should follow up with your referring provider to discuss your results.