For a nuclear medicine exam, the patient is given a small amount of radioisotope, either orally or by injection, to enhance the visualization of selected organs or vascular structures. Once the radioisotope has accumulated in the region of the body under study, the technologist positions a camera close to the region and begins the scanning process. The images are viewed on a computer monitor after the examination by a specially trained physician who will communicate the results to your own doctor.
How to prepare for a nuclear medicine exam varies because each study is different. Patients are urged to consult their own physician for specific instructions about how to prepare for their specific procedure.
As with any radiologic procedure, pregnant women should consult with their physician before undergoing a nuclear medicine exam. Generally, nuclear medicine scans are not performed on pregnant women. Patients should also make sure their physician knows what medications they are taking and if they are a nursing mother before undergoing a nuclear medicine exam.
If you have any questions, please call the Radiology Resource Nurse at 415-353-4030.