Nuclear Medicine is another kind of scanning procedure that typically involves giving patients small amounts of radioactive substances—usually by vein, mouth, or inhalation—to create incredibly detailed images of the body. These tests are so powerful that they can produce “molecular” images, which means images at the cellular and subcellular level. The tests are painless and are used to reveal all kinds of diseases or injuries of the body, from brain function to blood disorders to broken bones.
Nuclear Medicine procedures can provide useful information about many organs and diseases however it may not be for everyone. It is very important that if you are pregnant or there is a possibility of pregnancy, or if you are breast feeding, that you inform your physician and the center personnel prior to your procedure. Your physician, in conjunction with the radiologist will determine if it is appropriate for you to have the nuclear medicine procedure or another type of diagnostic procedure.
Preparing for Nuclear Medicine procedures
- Please arrive at least 15-30 minutes prior to your scheduled procedure time to complete paperwork and to change clothes if necessary.
- Wear comfortable clothes without zippers or snaps; metal objects may interfere with the images. You may be requested to change into a clinic gown. Please leave jewelry and other valuables at home.
- Please bring the written prescription your physician gave you for this procedure.
- If you have had an X-ray procedure using barium contrast material (such as a barium swallow or enema) or have taken a medication (such as Pepto-Bismol) that contains bismuth within the last four (4) days of your scan appointment, please notify the scheduling or technical staff when making your appointment. Barium and bismuth may interfere with the procedure's results.
- For some Nuclear Medicine procedures, there will be a waiting period of 1 to 3 hours after the radioactive tracer is injected before your procedure is performed. You may want to bring some reading materials or a project to pass the time during this waiting period. You may also be permitted to leave the facility for a short period of time and return to have the scan completed.
- Most Nuclear Medicine procedures do not require any special preparations except for gastrointestinal or gallbladder studies, you will be required to fast for these procedures. The center scheduling staff will provide you with specific instructions if this applies to you when making the appointment. You may be asked to drink lots of fluid during the waiting period and you will be asked to empty your bladder just before the procedure begins.
- We strongly encourage you to ask questions and discuss any concerns you may have prior to your procedure. We strongly believe that communication with our patients is an important part of the service we provide.
If you have questions, please call the Wellmont Nurse Connection at 1-877-230-NURSE.