• Nuclear Medicine Scheduling

    Preparing for your Nuclear Medicine Visit

Scheduling your Appointment

Our section serves thousands of patients every year. Our priority is to see you in a timely manner with your safety and comfort in mind. The following, are the common steps which take place prior to your Nuclear Medicine Scan appointment. Please make sure you follow the steps listed below
Your Primary Care Physician (PCP) or Specialist will order your Nuclear Medicine study
Your ordered exam will need to be approved by your insurance provider. ( We will do everything possible to facilitate this process, however, please note that most of the insurance provider approvals are beyond our control and have an expiration period)

-See the list of accepted Health Plans-

Your Doctor’s Office will schedule your appointment
You are asked to call Radiology Scheduling Line at (916) 734-0655
Things you will be asked while scheduling your appointment
Date of birth
Insurance information
Relevant medical history pertaining to the exam

You will be given preparation instructions for your specific exam at the time of scheduling.  If you need more information or clarification of preparation instructions please call (916) 703-2136
Arriving for your appointment
Please make sure you arrive at least 20 minutes early prior to your scheduled appointment. This will allow you to complete any necessary paperwork
Please make sure you are arriving at the correct location

Your comfort and Safety is our priority

We will make sure you are as comfortable as possible for your exam. In most situations, we may provide you with a leg cushion that provides back support, and a warm blanket. The scanner and procedure room, have proper ventilation and lighting that may help you feel more comfortable. Please Ask Questions. Be sure to ask your Nuclear Medicine technologist the questions you might have about your exam. Understanding what will happen during your Nuclear Medicine exam will help you prepare and relax during the actual exam.

Patient undergoing NM exam

How long is my Nuclear Medicine exam?

The length of your exam will depend on what is ordered by your doctor, or the body part of interest.

Nuclear Medicine exams have a wide variety of scan times ranging from a few minutes to several hours and even up to a few days.

For more detailed information regarding the overall length of your exam, please call the scheduling department at (916) 734-0655 or the Nuclear Medicine technologist desk at (916) 703-2136

How long does it take to get my exam scheduled?

Many exams can be scheduled to be performed within 1-2 days after the exam is ordered and insurance authorization has been completed.  Certain specialty exams, including therapies, have constraints on radiotracer and/or equipment availability that must be accounted for and may take longer to schedule.  Urgent exam requests are prioritized whenever possible.

Will I be allergic to the radioactive dose? If so, who should I call if I develop a reaction?

Allergy to radioactivity does not exist. In very rare cases there can be an allergic reaction to the chemical to which the radioactive isotope is attached to. If you should have an allergic reaction the Nuclear Medicine Physician will treat you. Be sure to notify the staff of any allergies or allergic reactions you have had in the past.

How long will the radioactivity stay in my system?

With most of the tracers used, the radioactivity will be almost completely gone by the following day.

Is it dangerous to be around others, especially around children, pregnant women or animals?

Generally there is no risk in exposing others to meaningful amounts of radioactivity from diagnostic Nuclear Medicine imaging exams.  Patients undergoing therapeutic procedures in Nuclear Medicine will have specific guidelines to follow.

Why do I have to wait so long between injection and scan?

The amount of time needed to complete a Nuclear Medicine procedure depends on the type of test. Nuclear Medicine exams are generally performed in three steps, administering the radiotracer, acquiring the images and analyzing the results. The amount of time needed for the radiotracer to localize in the body part to be scanned can vary from several minutes to a few hours to even days.

What are the risks when having a cardiac stress test?

Cardiac stress testing (either with a treadmill or by using a medication) has been proven to be effective and safe in hundreds of thousands of patients. The risks associated with cardiac stress testing are minimal. While no test is perfectly safe, the risk of major complications (such as heart attack, stroke or death) are rare and on the order of 1/5000 to 1/10000. During and after the test you will be continuously monitored by medical staff to ensure your safety.

Are radiotracers and 'contrast' the same thing?

No. Radiotracers are not the same as contrast agents used in CT or MRI scanning and are used for different purposes.

For Thyroid patients: If I'm allergic to iodine, will I react to the I-131 or I-123?

Iodine is a critical element for survival and is a necessary nutrient.  While you cannot be allergic to raw iodine, you can be sensitive to compounds that bind to iodione such as in shellfish or iodinated contrast used in some CT scan contrast agents.  The types of iodine used in Nuclear Medicine exams (I-123 and I-131) are in the raw form and pose no risk of allergy.

When can I or my physician expect to receive the results of my exam?

Images are usually read the same day and the results should be available to your physician within 24 hours or less.

Do I have to wear a gown?

Depending on what test you have, you might be asked to wear a gown.

Can I wear jewelry?

Please leave all jewelry at home. Jewelry can potentially cause artifacts on the images.

Can I have the exam if I have a pacemaker or some other medical device/implant?

A pacemaker or other implanted medical devices do not pose a problem for Nuclear Medicine imaging exams. However please let the staff know if you have any implanted medical devices or prosthesis.