Nuclear medicine scans use a camera to take pictures of certain tissues in the body after a radioactive tracer accumulates in the tissues following either oral or intravenous administration of radio-isotope. The radiation dose is very small and not associated with any measurable risk, and serves to make tissues visible on the scanning pictures. Each type of tissue that may be scanned (including bones, organs, glands, and blood vessels) uses a different radioactive compound as a tracer. The tracer remains in the body temporarily before it is eliminated as waste, usually in the urine or stool (feces).
To prepare for a nuclear medicine test:
- Various procedures have different protocols, and therefore, will require specific instructions.
- It is likely you will be advised not to consume food or drink for at least four hours prior to your appointment.
- If you are having a renal (kidney) function test, plan to drink plenty of water in advance of the procedure.