Testing: What to Expect
Nuclear Medicine procedures are highly accurate and safe diagnostic procedures.
Patients are given (either by mouth or through an injection) a safe, low dose radioactive tracer that travels to a target area allowing for specific organs or bones to be imaged with a special camera called a Gamma Camera. After the patient is given the radioactive tracer, they may proceed with imaging right away, or they may be asked to wait a short while, or return anywhere from 30 minutes to 72 hours later depending on the type of exam. This waiting period allows for the tracer to travel to a specific area in the body in order for images to be taken by the camera.
When the technologist is ready to begin the exam, the patient will be positioned on the exam table. While the patient is asked to hold still while the images are taken, the procedure is painless. A technologist will be nearby to answer any questions throughout the exam.
Once the exam is through, the films are provided to an in-house radiologist for reading, and results will be provided to your doctor who requested the exam.
Following the exam, the radioactive tracer is naturally eliminated in over just a few hours, though the technologist may ask you to drink extra fluids to speed your body's elimination of the radiotracer. The level of radiation exposure from nuclear medicine procedures in most cases is very low, and it is generally safe for both you and anyone around you. In fact, the radiation to which you are exposed in a nuclear medicine procedure is actually less than the radiation to which you are exposed in most traditional series of x-rays or a CT Scan.
Nuclear Medicine procedures performed at LRGHealthcare include:
Sentinel Node Biopsy
Thyroid Scans and Uptake
If you are scheduled for a procedure and have specific questions regarding your case, please call your physician's office.