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The radioactive material has been refined to be safe inside the body and is given by injection or taken by mouth. Different types of radioactive materials are used for certain tests, and most will be undetectable within one to two days.
Once the material has been put into the body, testing may begin at various times - anywhere from a few minutes to a few days later, based on the organ being studied and material being used. The material travels through your body and collects in the organs and tissues. Places in the body where the solution collects will appear brighter. 3-D images of your organs are created and can help your physician identify conditions that are otherwise nearly impossible to detect.
Certain exams may require SPECT/CT for enhanced imaging. This is done at the same time as the test your doctor has ordered, and does not require any additional procedures. SPECT/CT is the newest imaging technology that helps your physician more accurately pinpoint the cause of your condition.
Scheduling an Appointment
We want to make the scheduling process as easy and convenient for you as possible. A Nuclear Medicine scan requires a physician referral. Once we receive the order for the Nuclear Medicine scan from the referring physician we will call you to schedule an appointment and complete the necessary registration over the phone. With pre-registration complete you will then need to arrive the day of your appointment only 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time. Sometimes the urgency of the test precludes pre-registration and then we ask that you arrive 30 minutes prior to the time of your appointment to complete the necessary paperwork. Please come prepared with your insurance card, photo ID and co-payment, as insurance co-payments are due at the time of service.
What to Expect
The Nuclear Medicine technologist will assist you onto a padded table, under a scanner called a gamma camera. The technologist will move the table around the camera opening in order to take pictures in several different positions. The best pictures are taken when movements are kept to a minimum, so the technologist will allow time for you to relax and move. If you have difficulty lying still or are claustrophobic, you may want to discuss the test with your physician first. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding it is important you inform the technologist before your test begins. While you will be alone in the room during the scan, the technologist will be able to see, hear and speak with you at all times. Nuclear Medicine scans can take from 30 minutes to an hour and a half depending on the test ordered.
What to Bring
We advise that you only bring essential items to the hospital. Please leave all valuables including jewelry and cash at home. We recommend you bring the following documents: health insurance card(s), picture identification (driver's license or state ID), credit card or check for insurance co-payment, list of medications you take, prior test results or medical records (if requested by your physician) and any worker's compensation information including billing address and claim number (if applicable).
Convenient parking and entry for patients is located on the east side of the hospital, at the doors marked Outpatient Center, just south of the main hospital doors.
What to Wear
Wear comfortable clothing (like sweats) without snaps, zippers or any other metal. Dressing rooms with gowns and lockers are available for personal items.
Preparation for a Nuclear Medicine scan will vary depending on the type of test being done, and our scheduling representative will provide specific instructions when the test is scheduled.
Your Nuclear Medicine scan results will be sent to your referring physician. For your records we are happy to provide you with a copy of your test on CD.
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