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How to Prepare for a Nuclear Medicine Test

A nuclear medicine scan combines small amounts of radiation, administered orally or intravenously, and a special camera to create pictures of tissues, bones, and organs inside the body. Nuclear scans are commonly used to monitor cancer and are often paired with other scans, like a CT scan or MRI.

Preparing for a nuclear medicine test is similar to preparing for a CT scan or MRI. 

How do I get ready for a nuclear scan?

The steps needed to prepare for a nuclear medicine scan depend on the type of test and the tissue that will be studied. Some scans require patients to not eat or drink for 2 to 12 hours before the test. For others, patients may be asked to take a laxative or use an enema to clear out their system. It is important to inform the doctor or nurse of everything medication currently being used, even over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbs. Patients may need to avoid some medicines (prescription and over-the-counter) before the test. Your health care team will give you instructions.

Reactions to the radioactive material are very rare. Still, be sure to tell your doctor about any allergies and if you’ve had problems with nuclear medicine scans in the past.

You may get the radioactive material anywhere from a few minutes to many hours before the test. For example, in a bone scan, the tracer is put into a vein in your arm about 2 hours before the test begins. For gallium scans, the tracer is given a few days before the test. While the average scanning time is about 45 minutes, total time spent at the hospital will vary depending on the specific procedure and preparations. 

To book a scan, visit us at Medmo.com. Medmo helps people schedule radiology imaging tests – such as MRI, CT scans, PET, and more – at nearby accredited centers and identify the payment solution that works best for them. 

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A nuclear medicine scan combines small amounts of radiation, administered orally or intravenously, and a special camera to create pictures of tissues, bones, and organs inside the body. The images are digitally generated on a computer and transferred to a nuclear medicine physician.
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Some scans require patients to not eat or drink for 2 to 12 hours before the test. For others, patients may be asked to take a laxative or use an enema to clear out their system. It is important to inform the doctor or nurse of everything medication currently being used, even over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbs.
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