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Nuclear Medicine Scan

A nuclear medicine scan uses a special camera to create pictures of your organs (such as your heart, lungs, liver, and gallbladder) and bones. This test uses a small amount of radioactive material and a special camera.

Man lying on back on table under scanner. Health care provider is standing next to table.
Relax and stay as still as you can to help ensure that the images are clear.

Before Your Scan Appointment

  • Be sure to mention the medications you take and ask if it’s OK to take them before your test.

  • You will be given a tracer (radioactive material). It may be injected, swallowed, or inhaled. Your scan may then be done right away, or you may need to wait a few hours or even days to allow the tracer to concentrate in the part of the body being studied.

  • Your scan may take a few hours. Bring something you can do if you need to wait.

Let the Technologist Know

Let the technologist know if you:

  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding

  • Have had a nuclear medicine scan before

  • Have had a recent barium study or an X-ray using contrast

  • Have any fractures or artificial joints

  • Have any allergies

During the Scan

  • You will lie on a narrow imaging table.

  • A large camera is placed close to your body.

  • Remain as still as you can while the camera takes the pictures. This will ensure the best images.

  • The table or camera may be adjusted to take more pictures.

After Your Scan

  • Drink plenty of water to help clear the tracer from your body.

  • Your doctor will discuss the test results with you during a follow-up visit or over the phone.

Your next appointment is: _________________

Online Medical Reviewer: Dozier, Tennille, RN, BSN, RDMS
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 12/30/2013
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.