How do I prepare for the exam?
- A BayCare Imaging Professional will call you prior to your appointment to provide specific instructions, as preparation for your nuclear medicine scan will vary depending upon the type of exam you are scheduled to receive. The representative will also verify your health and insurance information.
- If available, please bring previous imaging study results (MRI, CT scan, X-rays), such as reports or films.
- Notify a BayCare Imaging Professional if you are nursing or if there is a chance you may be pregnant.
- Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment to verify your registration information.
What should I expect during the exam?
- Nuclear medicine uses a small, safe amount of radioactive "tracer" or contrast (dye) agent that goes to specific organs, bones or tissues.
- The tracer is administered orally or by an IV injection in your arm. It may take a few minutes to five hours for the tracer to reach the specific area to be studied. If there is a long wait period, you will be free to leave the center and return for your scan several hours later.
- You will lies on a padded table. Once in position, the tracer emits gamma rays that are detected by special camera. The tracer works with computers to form images that provide data about the body area in question.
- The nuclear medicine scan takes approximately 30-60 minutes.
- These procedures are very safe. The amount of radiation needed for the exam is minimal (comparable to a diagnostic X-ray) and the body eliminates the tracer material typically within 24 hours.
- Drinking extra water will help remove the tracer more quickly.
What happens after the exam?
- A radiologist who specializes in a specific area of the body will review your images.
- The radiologist prepares a diagnostic report to share with your doctor.
- Your doctor will consider this information in context of your overall care and talk with you about the results.