Guide to Nuclear Medicine Scans

Health Play Department
Bergholt Ward, Ipswich Hospital
Tel: 01473 702 186 (Ext:1186)

This is a gamma camera.

It has two large detectors (cameras) which can take images of inside your body with the help of a radioactive isotope (liquid tracer) inside your body.

It can only detect the tracer and, with the use of a computer, makes images of the body part being scanned.

It makes no noise or vibrations, and once the cameras are in position it doesn’t do much else. You can even watch a DVD whilst the images are taken.

It can get quite close to your body (the cameras) but they won’t actually touch you.  This ensures a good, clear image.

It is a painless procedure, but you will have to lie quite still

Before the scan, you will need to have a cannula fitted. The liquid tracer will be put into your body through the cannula. Depending on your type of scan, you may have the scan pictures taken immediately or you may be scanned a couple of hours later.

A scan can take various lengths of time to complete, depending on the type of test requested:

  • A DMSA or bone scan will take around 25 minutes.
  • A Mag3 is around 45 minutes.
  • A Meckel’s scan can take over an hour.

You will be a little radioactive for a number of hours afterwards, while your body eliminates the tracer out through your wee (urine). Don’t worry though, the staff will talk to you and your parent or carer about any precautions you may need to take.

For more information:

Speak to your nurse or play specialist.