At Thayer County Health Services, we utilize an outside service to perform nuclear medicine studies. You will check-in at the Radiology/Lab desk within the hospital, and the technologist will take you out to the truck which houses the nuclear medicine camera and table.
WHAT IS NUCLEAR MEDICINE?
Nuclear medicine is a separate modality within the field of radiology. It uses radioactive tracers to show the function of different organs within the body. The tracers are most often given to the patient by intravenous (IV) injection, although some studies may require swallowing of a radioactive pill. The camera used detects the gamma rays being emitted from the patient, forming an image on the computer screen. For most studies, the radiation to the patient is comparable to that of a chest x-ray.
HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR MY SCAN?
There are several different studies in nuclear medicine, all which require different preparations. The radiology department will contact you the day prior to your exam. Because an outside service is utilized, the time of your exam depends on the number and type of exams scheduled for the service that day. You will receive specific instructions for your test at this time. You will generally not have to change your clothes for a nuclear medicine procedure, but you may be required to remove any metal objects such as loose change, jewelry, belt buckles, etc.
HOW LONG WILL THE EXAM TAKE?
Studies in nuclear medicine vary in time, ranging from several minutes to several hours. Some studies require scanning at different times during the day. This will be explained to you at the time of scheduling.