Nuclear medicine is the imaging of organ function, not structure. Imaging function requires that images be taken while your body processes the medicine you will receive and results in exams that require one to ofur hours, or even multiple days, to complete. The average time for a nuclear medicine exam is two to three hours. You will be given a radiopharmaceutical. This medication is not a dye, has no side effects and does not produce allergic reactions.

Patient Instructions

In preparation for a nuclear medicine exam, please wear comfortable clothes, follow instructions given to you by your physician, and be prepared for the exam to take several hours.

Nuclear Medicine Gastric Emptying

Do not eat or drink for eight hours prior to study. The study will take approximately an hour and a half.

Nuclear Medicine Bone Scan

Drink plenty of fluids. Please come in at your scheduled time for the initial injection. You will need to return approximately four hours later for imaging. Expect the imaging part of the test to take about one hour.

Nuclear Medicine Cardiac Scans

  • Rest/stress test - Do not eat or drink for eight hours prior to the test. Also, do not have caffeine for 24 hours. Expect the test to take three to four hours.
  • Muga test - There is no prep for this test. Expect the test to take up to two hours.
  • TI viability - Do not eat or drink for eight hours prior to the test. Images are done immediately after you are given an injection and then again after four hours.

Nuclear Medicine GI Bleed Scan

There is no prep for this test. Expect the test to take about two hours.

Nuclear Medicine Thyroid Scans

  • 123l uptake and scan - Do not eat or drink for four hours prior to your appointment and for one hour after receiving the pill. You will need to withhold thyroid medications for four to six weeks prior to the scheduled exam date.
  • 99mTc thyroid scan - There is no prep for this test. You may expect one hour for the test.

Nuclear Medicine HIDA

Do not eat or drink for four hours prior to your appointment, and do not take any pain medications for six hours prior to the test. Expect the test to take two hours.

Nuclear Medicine Lung Scan

  • V/Q scan - Have a chest X-ray done within 24 hours of your test.
  • Quantitative - Have chest X-ray done within 24 hours of your test.

Nuclear Medicine Lymphoscintigraphy

No prep necessary.

Nuclear Medicine Renal Scan

  • Renal flow and function scan - Drink plenty of liquid.
  • Lasix renal scan - Drink plenty of liquid and do not take Lasix for six hours prior to test.
  • Captopril renal scan - Do not take blood pressure medication for 24 hours prior to test.

How will I get my results?

An interpreting physician (usually a radiologist) will read your exam and make a final diagnosis. His interpretation will be converted to a written report, which will be sent to the physician who ordered your exam. Your physician should present the findings of your exam to you. You may also sign up for a patient portal account at mycrmchealth.org to read your results online.