Nuclear Medicine tests are done to evaluate the function of specific organs and to localize the distribution of a radioactive tracer in the body.
PET Examinations are for detection of cancer, Alzheimer's disease and cardiac viability.
These examinations are done to evaluate the function and distribution of small amounts of specially prepared radioactive tracers that go through your body to specific areas for analysis. As the gamma rays leave the body a detector converts them to a signal which is sent to a computer monitor. Different chemicals are attached to the radioactive material so that the tracer can be directed to different areas of the body.
Depending on the type of exam ordered, you may be required to fast prior to the test.
Thyroid Uptake and Scan
Please do not take any thyroid medication and avoid foods high in iodine (shellfish, dark green vegetables and mega vitamins) or xray dye 6 weeks prior to exam.
The person scheduling your appointment will review instructions with you. Please call the imaging center where your Nuclear Medicine exam is scheduled if you have questions.
Exam Day for most Nuclear Medicine Procedures
For all scans it is important to drink plenty of fluids up to the day of the exam.
Please arrive early on the day of the exam to complete the registration process.
Radioactive tracer isotopes are given by injection, orally or by inhalation. If your exam requires you
to come back at a later time for imaging, you will be instructed to do so. If your exam requires scans to begin immediately, you will be placed on a table or asked to sit in front
of a camera/scanner.
Acquiring the Nuclear Medicine images takes time and it is very important that
you remain still while images are being obtained. This can take from 5 minutes
up to an hour.
*The amount of radiation received is small and is equivalent in most cases to naturally
occurring levels and are passed out of the body very quickly. You are advised to
drink plenty of water after the exam.
** Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding may not be candidates for these exams.
Important resources for patients seeking more information on Nuclear Medicine examinations:
Resource Center for Nuclear Medicine
Society of Nuclear Medicine
Society of Nuclear Medicine Molecular Imaging