Procedure: Having a Radionuclide Scan

Radionuclide scanning is used both to image structures and to assess their function. In most cases, an injection of a radioactive substance (radionuclide) is given before the scan, but you may be asked to inhale radioactive gas if your lungs are being scanned (see Radionuclide lung scanning). The choice of radionuclide depends on the structure being imaged. During the scan, you lie still on a motorized bed and the radiographer moves you and a camera into position. The camera detects radiation emitted by the radionuclide, and a computer builds up an image.

During the procedure

Radiation from the part of your body being imaged is detected by the gamma camera, and the information is sent to a computer. Most scans last 20–60 minutes.


Radionuclide scan of kidneys

The kidney seen on the right emits less radiation because it is damaged and takes up less of the radionuclide.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

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