Nuclear Medicine

This procedure uses tiny amounts of radioactive material to examine different organ systems. These agents have been used in hundreds of thousands of patients with no known significant side effects or harm. Some of these exams may be used in addition to other exams, as nuclear medicine exams are often used to demonstrate function of an organ system, more than simply an image. These exams require written orders from a physician, usually the primary care physician, although many of the exams are requested by a specialist.

Preparation

Most of these exams require little or no preparation.

Bone scan
Adequate hydration before and after the exam provides the most information. No preparation. Scheduling of barium procedures (barium enema, barium swallow, upper GI series, small bowel series) after this exam or at least 48 hours prior to this exam is recommended.

HIDA (gallbladder) scan
No food , and only water after midnight the evening prior to the exam. Scheduling of barium procedures (barium enema, barium swallow, upper GI series, small bowel series) after this exam, or at least 48 hours prior to this exam is recommended.

Lung scan
No preparation required. Bringing any recent prior radiographs of the chest (x-rays) obtained at a different institution is helpful.

Thyroid scan
Ask the physician ordering exam whether discontinuation of your thyroid medicine is necessary.

Heart (myocardial perfusion) scan
No preparation necessary.

Last updated June 15, 2011