Nuclear Medicine

What is a Nuclear Medicine Examination?

Nuclear Medicine involves the use of radioactive materials, or isotopes, to obtain specific diagnostic information. These isotopes transmit a pattern of rays representing the organ size, shape, and function. The rays are detected by a special camera then produced on a computer screen.

What can you expect during the exam?

You will be positioned on the scanning table under the camera. A radionuclide will then be injected or taken orally. This makes it possible for the camera to detect certain organs and their functions.

Most scans require different images and perhaps a few position changes. You will be asked to lie still. Each scan will take about 3 minutes, some may take longer. Movement may result in the need for additional scans.

For your personal safety

If you are having a Nuclear Medicine examination, please tell your doctor or the technologist if you are:

  • Pregnant or think you may be
  • Allergic to iodine or other materials
  • Undergoing radiation therapy
  • Diabetic

Instructions for you

Often, your imaging procedure will require advance preparation.  It is important that you following the instructions carefully in order to achieve the best diagnostic image.  The following list of advance instructions are listed according to procedure.  Please locate your procedure and follow the instructions listed.

Bone scans: Plain Bone Scan

  • The exam requires an injection and then you must wait or return in 3 hours.
  • You should drink plenty of fluids after the injection.
  • The exam will take about 45 minutes to an hour.

Bone scan: with/without Flow

  • The exam requires an injection and then you must wait or return in 3 hours.
  • You should drink plenty of fluids after the injection.
  • Exam takes about 45 minutes to an hour.

Cardiac

  • You may not have any food or drink 6 hours prior to the exam.
  • You may not consume any caffeine (including decaf coffee) 48 hours prior to the exam.
  • Exam takes about 4 hours to complete. 

Gastric Emptying Study

  • You may not have any food 8 hours prior to the exam.
  • You should not have had any other type of barium study 4 days prior.
  • Do not take any type of Gastric Drugs prior to the exam.
  • Exam takes about 2 hours.

Liver/Spleen Scan

  • You may eat or drink whatever you like.
  • Exam takes about 2 hours.

Meckels Diverticulum Scan

  • You may not have any food or drink 12 hours prior to the exam.
  • Exam takes about 1 ½ hours.

Muga Study

  • You may eat or drink whatever you like.
  • Exam takes about 1 ½ hours.

Thyroid Uptake

  • You may have breakfast but no lunch.  Water only may be consumed.
  • Exam takes two days to complete.

Thyroid Scan

  • You may eat and drink whatever you like.
  • Exam takes about 1 ½ hours.

Vasotec Renal Scan

  • You may eat whatever you like.
  • Make sure to drink plenty of water before the exam.
  • Exam takes about 2 hours.

Hepatobiliary Scan

  • You may not have any food or drink 6 hours prior to your exam.
  • Exam takes about 2 hours.
  • Should an IV extravasation occur; ice or cold compresses are applied immediately and hot compresses may be used there after.  Elevation is indicated if volume is more than 10cc's.  Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin may be taken for discomfort.  If symptoms persist more than 48 hours after procedure then contact your ordering provider's office or the Outpatient Diagnostic Center.