This service is available at the Riverside location.
During the Exam
For most nuclear medicine examinations, the patient is positioned on a scanning table underneath a camera. A radiopharmaceutical then is administered intravenously, orally or through inhalation. The camera detects and records the radioactive emissions from the patient’s body.
For some nuclear medicine studies, imaging takes place immediately. For others, images are taken an hour, two hours, or even the following day after administration of the radiopharmaceutical. In most cases, the patient is permitted to leave the facility and return later for the imaging procedure.
Most nuclear medicine procedures require several different images from different angles, and the technologist may ask you to change positions during the examination. You will need to lie still during each scan.
Nuclear Medicine Scans
- A thyroid uptake study shows how well the thyroid gland is functioning. If the radiopharmaceutical is administered orally, you will be asked to return the next day for scanning. If it is injected, the scans are performed immediately. You may be asked to avoid all foods and medicines that contain iodine for several days before the test as they can distort test results.
- Lung scans are usually performed to detect blood clots in the lungs.
- For gallbladder imaging, images usually are taken within an hour of administration of a radiopharmaceutical. For imaging requiring an ejection fraction, you will be asked to drink a high caloric liquid, with additional imaging taken immediately afterwards. The study can detect gallbladder disease and reveal how well the liver is functioning.
- Bone scans detect fractures, tumors and infections. Imaging is usually performed several hours after the radiopharmaceutical is injected. If your entire body needs to be scanned, the imaging portion of the procedure can last two to four hours.