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Nuclear Medicine
Scheduling number: 719-526-7350    
     
What is Nuclear Medicine?  
Nuclear medicine is an imaging modality that is used to diagnose and treat medical conditions by looking at the structure and function of the organs, tissues or bones.  This is accomplished by the use of small amounts of radioactive materials (also called tracers) that are given to the patient and are detected by a gamma camera.

16 slice SPECT/CT scanner
Due to the sensitivity of nuclear medicine exams, we often identify abnormalities very early in the disease process long before medical problems are detected with other diagnostic tests.

If the doctor wishes then we can augment the sensitivity of the nuclear medicine exams by acquiring a CT scan at the same time as your nuclear medicine exam.  By fusing the CT and nuclear medicine studies together, we are able to increase the overall specificity of your exam.  We are the only radiology department in the state of Colorado and 1 of 30 in the whole country that is able to do this with a 16 slice SPECT/CT camera.
     
How do I prepare for my Nuclear Medicine exam?
Below are some of the exams performed here and their required preparation.  If your exam is not listed or you have further questions please contact us at 719-526-7350.
             
MYOCARDIAL PERFUSION IMAGING
(CARDIOLITE STRESS TEST, MIBI, LEXISCAN, ADENOSINE STRESS TEST, TREADMILL STRESS TEST)

This exam consists of 1 early morning appointment that lasts 3-4 hours.  Upon your arrival an IV will be started on you so we can administer our tracers and possibly a pharmaceutical later in the morning that will simulate your heart being stressed. 

Some rules that should be followed before your exam are listed below.  Failure to follow these rules could result in your appointment being rescheduled or a non-diagnostic study.
  • Do not consume food or beverages containing caffeine or nicotine for at least 24 hours before your exam.
  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your exam.
  • If you are diabetic please inform the technologist.
  • Per the Department of Internal Medicine, do not take any over the counter drugs or prescription medications containing caffeine, theophylline or beta blockers at least 24 hours before your exam.
  • If you have any concerns about your medications please check with the physician that ordered your study.

BONE SCAN
(3 PHASE BONE SCAN, BONE SPECT)

This exam consists of 2 appointments.  At the first appointment you will be injected with a small amount of tracer that will go to all of your bones.  This appointment takes approximately 15 minutes.

After the first appointment, you will be asked to return 3-4 hours later to have more pictures taken.  The return time is dependent on what part of the body we are scanning.  This second appointment lasts 1-1.5 hours.

There is no preparation for this exam but we will ask you to drink lots of fluids (48 ounces) and use the restroom as often as possible between your first and second appointment.

BONE DENSITOMETRY (DEXA) This appointment lasts approximately 15-20 minutes and does not require an injection.  We will be taking pictures of your lower back and your hip.  If we are unable to take a picture of one of these body parts then we might substitute it with your forearm.

Please do not wear any pants with zippers or metal buttons.  Your shirt should also be absent of any metal buttons or zippers.

HEPATOBILIARY SCAN
(HIDA SCAN, GALLBLADDER STUDY)
This exam lasts approximately 2-2.5 hours.  You are allowed to bring something to listen to music on during your exam.

When you arrive for your exam we will start an IV in your arm so we can inject the necessary medications to help us determine the function of your hepatobiliary system.

Some rules that should be followed before your exam are listed below.  Failure to follow these rules could result in your appointment being rescheduled or a non-diagnostic study.
  • Do not consume food or beverages after midnight the night before your exam but at least within 18 hours before your exam.
  • If you have to take medications, please take them with minimal amounts of water and avoid dairy products.
  • When scheduling the exam please inform the technologist of any pain medications you might be taking.  You might have to discontinue use for up to 6 hours before the exam or it could result in a non-diagnostic study.
There are no side effects from the tracer that we use for this exam.  Sometimes there are side effects from the Kinevac (CCK) that we use to help in our diagnosis of the function of your hepatobiliary system.  These side effects include abdominal discomfort or pain, nausea and vomiting but some patients do not experience any side effects at all.

THYROID UPTAKE AND SCAN
(I123 UPTAKE AND SCAN)

This exam consists of 3 separate appointments.  At the first appointment you will be required to swallow some pills that contain I-123.  This is the tracer that our cameras will detect in your thyroid gland. 

The second appointment is approximately 6 hours after your first appointment.  We will take pictures to determine how much of the I-123 pills was actually absorbed by the thyroid gland.  This appointment takes about 45 minutes.

The third appointment takes place 24 hours after you had swallowed the I-123 pills.  We determine how much of the I-123 remains in your thyroid gland which only takes about 10-15 minutes.

The following is a list of general rules for this exam.  You should also follow the instructions on the information sheet that was given to you when you made your appointment.  Failure to follow these rules could result in your appointment being rescheduled or a non-diagnostic study.
  • 3-4 weeks before the first appointment: No x-ray procedures involving iodine contrast (CT, IVP, etc.)
  • 2 weeks before the first appointment: No oral iodines (Lugol's solution, vitamins containing iodine, etc.)
  • 2 weeks before the first appointment: No iodized salt, seafood, seaweed and kelp products, milk/dairy products, eggs and chocolate
  • 3 days before the first appointment: No antithyroid meciations (Propylthiouracil, Methimazole, PTU, Carbimazole)
  • Day of first appointment: Nothing to eat or drink 1 hour before your first appointment and 1 hour after your first appointment.
GASTRIC EMPTYING This exam takes approximately 2 hours.  You are allowed to bring a book to read or something to listen to music on during your exam. 

At your appointment you will be fed a small meal consisting of beef stew and a hard boiled egg.  The egg contains a small amount of tracer that is detected by our cameras.  If you have dietary restrictions due to food allergies please inform us when you make your appointment so we can address those issues before your exam.
  1. You should have nothing to eat or drink after midnight the night before the exam.


  2. Some medications that affect gastric emptying should be stopped 3 days before your exam but this should be discussed with the ordering physician.  These medications include but are not limited to: Reglan (metoclopramide), Zelnorm (tegaserod), Erythromycin, Motilium (domperidone), and antispasmodics such as Bentyl, Donnatal, Lavsin and Robinul.  You should also not take any laxatives the day before your exam or the day of your exam.


  3. Other medications you should avoid 2 days before your exam unless directed by your ordering physician are pain medications such as: Demorol, Codeine, Morphine, Oxycontin, Percodan, Percocet sedatives or tranquilizers such as Valium, Librax, Ativan or Thorazine.

If you are diabetic we ask that you bring your glucose monitoring equipment with you so you can check your glucose levels before, after and possibly during the exam.  Also if you are taking insulin, please bring your regular morning dose of insulin with you.

PARATHYROID SCAN This study consists of 2 separate appointments.  At the first appointment you will be injected with a tracer and images of your parathyroid gland will be obtained.  The injection is like us drawing blood but instead of us taking blood, we will be giving you a small amount of the tracer that will go to your parathyroid gland. 

The second appointment takes place 3 hours after you were injected and lasts 1-1.5 hours.

There is no special prep required for this exam.

 

This Web site provides an introduction to the U.S. Army Medical Department's headquarters organizations, which are the Office of the Army Surgeon General and
U.S. Army Medical Command headquarters. It is intended for interested members of the public, news media and Army Medical Department beneficiaries.
Last Modified 11 September, 2014