Nuclear Medicine Exam

ExitCare ImageA nuclear medicine exam is a safe and painless imaging test. It helps to detect and diagnose disease in the body as well as provide information about organ function and structure.

Nuclear scans are most often done of the:

  • Lungs.

  • Heart.

  • Thyroid gland.

  • Bones.

  • Abdomen.

HOW A NUCLEAR MEDICINE EXAM WORKS

A nuclear medicine exam works by using a radioactive tracer. The material is given either by an IV (intravenous) injection or it may be swallowed. After the tracer is in the body, it is absorbed by your body's organs. A large scanning machine that uses a special camera detects the radioactivity in your body. A computerized image is then formed regarding the area of concern. The small amounts of radioactive material used in a nuclear medicine exam are found to be medically safe. However, because radioactive material is used, this test is not done if you are pregnant or nursing.

BEFORE THE PROCEDURE

  • If available, bring previous imaging studies such as x-rays, etc. with you to the exam.

  • Arrive early for your exam.

PROCEDURE

  • An IV may be started before the exam begins.

  • Depending on the type of examination, will lie on a table or sit in a chair during the exam.

  • The nuclear medicine exam will take about 30 to 60 minutes to complete.

AFTER THE PROCEDURE

  • After your scan is completed, the image(s) will be evaluated by a specialist. It is important that you follow up with your caregiver to find out your test results.

  • You may return to your regular activity as instructed by your caregiver.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

You have shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.