What to Expect During a Nuclear Medicine Scan

Nuclear medicine uses very small amounts of radioactive materials to help diagnose and treat a wide range of diseases.

Before Your Scan

Tell your technologist about any medications you take. He or she will let you know if it's okay to take them before your test. Your technologist will also need to know if:

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • You have ever had a nuclear medicine scan
  • You have had a barium study or X-ray using contrast recently
  • You have any fractures, artificial joints or allergies

You will be given a tracer material that may be injected, swallowed or inhaled. Depending on what part of your body is being studied, the test may be done right away or you may need to wait a few hours or even days. The scan could take several hours.

Please arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled exam time.

During Your Scan

During your test, you will lie on an imaging table while a large camera is placed close to your body. Try to relax and stay as still as possible while the camera takes pictures. The camera or table may be adjusted during the test.

After Your Scan

Drinking water will help clear the tracer material from your body. Contact your doctor for your test results.