You will receive specific instructions based on the type of scan you are undergoing. However, the following guidelines usually apply to all scans.
What to expect
- You will be positioned on an examination table. If necessary, a technologist will insert an intravenous (IV) line into a vein in your hand or arm.
- A radiotracer will be used and depending on the type of nuclear medicine scan you are undergoing it will be injected intravenously, you will swallow it or inhale it as a gas.
- It can take several seconds to several days for the radiotracer to travel through your body and accumulate in the organ or area being studied. As a result, imaging may be done immediately, a few hours later, or even several days after you have received the radioactive material.
- When it is time for the imaging to begin, the special camera will take a series of images.
- The camera may rotate around you or it may stay in one position and you will be asked to change positions in between images.
- While the camera is taking pictures, you will need to remain still for brief periods of time.
How to prepare
- Inform your doctor about any medications you are taking as well as vitamins and herbal supplements and if you have any allergies.
- Let your doctor know about recent illnesses or other medical conditions.
- Most nuclear medicine procedures do not require you to fast, however there are some that do. Specific instructions will be provided upon scheduling of these procedures.
- You will wear your own clothing during the scan. Please wear something without metal clasps or zippers, as they will interfere with the study.
- Leave jewelry and other accessories at home if possible, or remove them prior to the scan.