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Nuclear Medicine (use of radioactive dye)

What is a nuclear medicine test?

A Nuclear Medicine test uses a radioactive material to make diagnostic images of the body or treat a disease. Nuclear Medicine tests are called "scans" and give the doctor information about how your organs or systems function.

Preparing For a Nuclear Medicine Scan

  • It is not necessary to stop taking your medications for most nuclear medicine procedures, unless directed to by your doctor.
  • You may be required to fast prior to your scan. You will be informed by your doctor or staff.
  • Your actual scan may be done immediately, within a few hours or in some circumstances a couple of days later after you have been given the radioactive material.
  • Tell the technologist if there is a possibility that you might be pregnant.
  • Nuclear medicine scans are safe for infants and children.

Risks or Complications:

  • Exposure to radiation
  • Reaction to radioactive material is not common

How long will a Nuclear Medicine scan take?

The actual scan may take a few minutes to 2 hours depending on the scan.

After Your Procedure

  • You are encouraged to drink lots of fluids.
  • If you will be crossing an international border after your scan i.e.USA, please inform the technologist. You will be given a letter identifying that you have received a dose of a radioactive material. Border crossings detection systems may pick up the residual radioactivity in your body up to a few months after your procedure.
  • If you are presently breastfeeding, you may have to stop for a few hours or permanently stop depending on the type of radioactive material used for your scan.
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