Preparing For Your Nuclear Medicine Exam

Nuclear medicine uses small amounts of a radioactive substance, or tracer, and a Gamma camera to diagnose or treat diseases. The tracer goes to a specific area of the body and emits a small amount of radiation, which the camera detects. Your care team may use nuclear medicine images to help diagnose or treat many conditions.

Before the exam
It is important to follow instructions, or we may have to schedule a new appointment.
  • You may need to change your diet before the exam.
  • You may need to remove your jewelry or any clothing with metal on it.
  • Talk with your care team about any medicines you take and whether to change them before your exam.
  • Please follow your care team instructions about when to arrive for your exam. Arrival times before your exam and scan times vary by procedure. If you were not notified of these instructions or have questions, please contact us.
Talk with your radiology care team before your exam if you:
  • Are nursing or may be pregnant
  • Have any fractures or replacement joints
  • Are diabetic
  • Have had a nuclear medicine imaging exam on the same part of your body before (We can compare old images to new ones.)
During the exam
  • You may need to change into a gown.
  • You will lie on a table. The technologist may position you more than once to get the images needed.
  • You will need to stay still.
  • Your exam may take from 30 minutes to several hours. Some exams can be spread over a few days.
Most nuclear exams require you to receive a tracer. You may receive it by mouth, by injection through an IV or by breathing it in. You may need to take the tracer immediately, one hour or a few days before your exam.

After the exam
You may be asked to stay in the exam area while we review your images. You may return to normal activities and medicines after your exam, unless you receive different instructions. Drink plenty of fluids to help the tracer pass through your system.

Your results
Our radiologist will report the results to your doctor within 24 to 48 hours. Your doctor will contact you to discuss them.

If you need a copy of your report or images, contact the Radiology Imaging Center at 913-588-6812.