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Nuclear medicine: patient preparation

I'm having an indium-labeled white blood cell scan

This procedure is used to diagnose and localize sites of infection.

  • What do I need to do to prepare? There are no special preparations for this exam
  • Duration of exam: After a sample of your blood is drawn and sent to the lab it will return to us within four hours (you don't have to wait in the department during this time). We'll then reinject the blood back into your vein and you'll return twice for imaging after 24 and 48 hours. Each imaging session will take approximately one hour.
  • Post-procedural care: None – you may resume normal activity

I'm having a biliary / HIDA scan

This exam assesses cystic duct patency as well as gallbladder contractility and emptying.

  • What do I need to do to prepare? You may not eat or drink for two to four hours before your procedure
  • Duration of exam: Approximately 90 minutes (please note: you may need to return for further assessment)
  • Post-procedural care: None – you may resume normal activity

I'm having a bone mineral densitometry (BMD) scan

A bone mineral densitometry uses an x-ray to diagnose the loss of bone mineral content.

  • What do I need to do to prepare? There are no dietary restrictions or special preparations for this exam
  • Duration of exam: Approximately 20 minutes
  • Post-procedural care: None – you may resume normal activity

I'm having a bone scan

This exam detects the presence and extent of active bone disease.

  • What do I need to do to prepare? There are no dietary restrictions or special preparations for this exam
  • Duration of exam: Initial injection and imaging will take approximately 15 minutes; three hours later, you'll be asked to return for delayed images, which will take approximately one hour. During your time away, you'll be asked to drink one litre of liquid
  • Post-procedural care: None – you may resume normal activity

I'm having a cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) scan

A CFS scan is used to diagnose normal pressure hydrocephalus and CSF leaks.

  • What do I need to do to prepare? You may not eat or drink after midnight before your procedure
  • Duration of exam: After an initial injection, you will have four hours before your first imaging scan; another scan will occur 24 hours after initial injection
  • Post-procedural care: You'll remain in bed for six hours following the initial injection; you're encouraged to drink plenty of fluids to minimize post-lumbar-puncture headaches

I'm having a CFS shunt scan

This shunt scan is used to check if your shunt is functioning.

  • What do I need to do to prepare? There are no dietary restrictions or special preparations for this scan
  • Duration of exam: Approximately two hours
  • Post-procedural care: None – you may resume normal activity

I'm having a gallium scan

A gallium scan is used to localize tumours and inflammatory processes.

  • What do I need to do to prepare? While there are no dietary restrictions for this exam, if you're being investigated for lymphoma, you'll be asked to take a mild laxative the night before your scan
  • Duration of exam: If you're being investigated for lymphoma, you will have an initial injection, with imaging scheduled three days following the injection (this will take three hours); If it's you're inflammatory processes that are being examined, you'll return two days after your initial injection for imaging that will take approximately one hour
  • Post-procedural care: While you'll be able to resume normal activity, nursing mothers should cease breastfeeding after their initial injection

I'm having a gastric emptying scan

This scan assess the stomach's rate of emptying.

  • What do I need to do to prepare? You may not eat or drink after midnight before your procedure, however, before your scan, you'll be asked to eat an egg sandwich that has been prepared with a small amount of radioactive material and 90 minutes later, your imaging will commence
  • Duration of exam: Approximately 90 minutes
  • Post-procedural care: None – you may resume normal activity

I'm having a heart scan

A heart scan demonstrates the blood flow to the myocardium after the heart has been both at stressed and at resting conditions.

  • What do I need to do to prepare? No food or drink in the four hours leading up to the exam and no caffeine up to 24 hours prior to your appointment; Please come dressed ready for exercise, and bring running shoes; If you take medication (especially beta blockers), please check with your physician regarding which medications should be stopped prior to your scan; Please bring a list of all of your medications
  • Duration of exam: Approximately two hours for the stress test; three hours later, you'll have the rest test, which will also take approximately 2 hours
  • Post-procedural care: None – you may resume normal activity

I'm having a heart scan (for viability) with Thallium-201

This type of heart scan demonstrates whether there is chronically underperfused, but viable, myocardium.

  • What do I need to do to prepare? Prior to the exam, you may have a light meal, but no caffeine
  • Duration of exam: You'll be injected with a radiopharmaceutical and images will be obtained 10 minutes and four hours later; each imaging session will take approximately 30 minutes
  • Post-procedural care: Nursing mothers should cease breast feeding for 96 hours post injection, otherwise you may resume normal activity

I'm having an iodine whole body scan

An iodine whole body scan is used to diagnose metastatic thyroid carcinoma.

  • What do I need to do to prepare?
  1. Discontinue all thyroid medications as directed by your referring physician (i.e. Synthroid and Eltroxin [T4] for four to six weeks and Cytomel [T3] for 10-14 days prior to your appointment). However, for patients receiving thyrogen injections prior to iodine whole body scan, stop your thyroid hormone replacement pills 1 day prior to receiving your thyrogen injections instead.
  2. Avoid iodine sources such as iodinated contrast material, Betadine, Amiodarone
  3. Refrain from eating foods that are high in iodine content such as kelp, seafood, cabbage, turnip and large amounts of table salt
  • Duration of exam: After initial appointment (whereby you'll swallow an iodine capsule), you'll return 48 to 72 hours later for a 60-minute whole-body scan. This scan can also be performed in conjunction with a thyroid ablation after a delay of five to seven days
  • Post-procedural care: Drink plenty of fluids and void frequently; nursing mothers should cease breast feeding; (Please note: if you have a dose higher than 30mCi for ablation purposes, you'll be given instructions following an interview with the technologist and doctor. If you're unable to perform any of the requirements in your own home, an admission to C2 under radiation isolation precautions may be required for a period of two to three days). You can restart your thyroid hormone replacement pills after your iodine whole body scan is completed.

I'm having a lacrimal (tear duct) scan

This scan demonstrates the degree to which the tear ducts are open.

  • What do I need to do to prepare? There are no dietary restrictions or special preparations for this scan
  • Duration of exam: Approximately 20 minutes
  • Post-procedural care: None – you may resume normal activity

I'm having a liver spleen scan

This scan is used to demonstrate any abnormality of the liver or spleen.

  • What do I need to do to prepare? There are no dietary restrictions or special preparations for this scan
  • Duration of exam: Approximately one hour
  • Post-procedural care: None – you may resume normal activity

I'm having a lung scan

A lung scan demonstrates the presence of pulmonary emboli.

  • What do I need to do to prepare? There are no dietary restrictions or special preparations for this scan
  • Duration of exam: Approximately 60 to 90 minutes
  • Post-procedural care: While you may resume normal activity, nursing mothers should cease breastfeeding for nine hours after initial injection

I'm having a lymphoscintigraphy (for melanoma)

This scan locates the sentinel node that drains the tumour in the affected area.

  • What do I need to do to prepare? There are no dietary restrictions or special preparations for this scan
  • Duration of exam: Approximately one hour
  • Post-procedural care: None – you may resume normal activity

I'm having a Meckel's scan

This procedure is used to detect the presence of a Meckel's diverticulum.

  • What do I need to do to prepare? You may not eat or drink either from midnight or at least four hours before your procedure
  • Duration of exam: Approximately one hour
  • Post-procedural care: While you may resume normal activity, nursing mothers should cease breastfeeding for four hours after initial injection

I'm having an MIBG adrenal scan

An MIBG adrenal scan detects metastatic pheochromocytomas.

  • What do I need to do to prepare? While there are no dietary restrictions for this procedure, you'll be asked to take saturated potassium iodide (40mg three times a day) starting 48 hours prior to your appointment, and for seven days thereafter
  • Duration of exam: Initial appointment will take approximately half an hour, and you'll be asked to return in 24, 48 and 72 hours afterward – each of these subsequent appointments will last approximately 90 minutes
  • Post-procedural care: Continue taking the iodide as instructed and increase fluid intake for 24 hours after initial appointment; if nursing, cease breastfeeding for 48 hours after initial injection

I'm having an indium octerotide scan

This scan is used to detect neuroendocrine tumors.

  • What do I need to do to prepare? You'll be asked to take a mild laxative the evening before and after the injection
  • Duration of exam: Your initial appointment will take approximately 30 minutes; you'll be asked to return after four hours, then again after one day, and once again, two days later; each of these appointments will last approximately three hours
  • Post-procedural care: While you may resume normal activity, you are encouraged to increase your fluid intake for 24 hours after your initial appointment; if nursing, cease breastfeeding after initial appointment

I'm having a parathyroid scan

This procedure detects parathyroid tumours.

  • What do I need to do to prepare? There are no dietary restrictions or special preparations for this scan
  • Duration of exam: Fifteen minutes after your initial injection with a tracing agent, pictures will be taken for an hour; you'll be asked to return three hours later for another hour of imaging, at which point your doctor may request a thyroid scan, which will take another 30 minutes
  • Post-procedural care: None – you may resume normal activity

I'm having an RBC liver scan

This scan is used to detect hemangioma in the liver.

  • What do I need to do to prepare? There are no dietary restrictions or special preparations for this scan
  • Duration of exam: Approximately three hours
  • Post-procedural care: While you may resume normal activity, nursing mothers should cease breastfeeding for twelve hours after initial injection

I'm having a renal scan with Captopril

A renal scan diagnoses renal vascular hypertension.

  • What do I need to do to prepare? While there are no dietary restrictions for this procedure, you must be off ACE inhibitors for 48 to 72 hours; calcium blockers: cease 48 hours prior; if you take other hypertensive medications, please refrain from taking them on the morning of your exam
  • Duration of exam: Approximately three hours
  • Post-procedural care: None – you may resume normal activity

I'm having a renal scan (regular and with GFR)

The purpose of this scan is to visualize the kidney and collecting system and to assess renal function.

  • What do I need to do to prepare? There are no dietary restrictions or special preparations for this scan
  • Duration of exam: Approximately 30 minutes; please note that this study may include an optional Lasix washout study which will require an additional 30 minutes of scanning
  • Post-procedural care: None – you may resume normal activity

I'm having a sentinel node (breast) scan

This scan locates the sentinel node(s) that drain tumours in the breast.

  • What do I need to do to prepare? While there are no dietary restrictions required for this procedure, patients must follow restrictions for their operating room (OR) procedure
  • Duration of exam: Approximately 90 minutes; you will be sent to the OR following your scan
  • Post-procedural care: None – you may resume normal activity after your scan

I'm having a sentinel code (cervix) scan

This procedure locates sentinel nodes that drain tumours in the cervix.

  • What do I need to do to prepare? While there are no dietary restrictions required for this procedure, patients must follow restrictions for their operating room (OR) procedure
  • Duration of exam: Approximately one hour; you will be sent to the OR following your scan
  • Post-procedural care: None – you may resume normal activity after your scan

I'm having a MUGA (multiple gated acquisition) scan

A MUGA scan evaluates your heart's ejection fraction.

  • What do I need to do to prepare? There are no dietary restrictions or special preparations for this scan
  • Duration of exam: Approximately one hour
  • Post-procedural care: While you'll be able to resume normal activity, nursing mothers should cease breastfeeding for 12 hours following their initial injection

I'm having a PET (positron emission tomography) with FDG scan

A PET scan determines the presence of neoplasm and stage disease.

  • What do I need to do to prepare? Please read our preparation information carefully; unless deemed medically necessary, this scan will not be preformed on pregnant women
  • Duration of exam: Approximately two hours
  • Post-procedural care: While you'll be able to resume normal activity, nursing mothers should cease breastfeeding after their initial injection

I'm having a salivary scan

This procedure is used to visualize and assess the salivary gland function.

  • What do I need to do to prepare? There are no dietary restrictions or special preparations for this scan
  • Duration of exam: Approximately 30 minutes
  • Post-procedural care: While you'll be able to resume normal activity, nursing mothers should cease breastfeeding for four hours following their initial injection