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  • Frequently Asked Questions

    • What is nuclear medicine imaging?
      A nuclear medicine scan is a procedure in which radioactive materials are used to diagnose or treat disease. The radioactive isotope may be injected, ingested or inhaled, depending on the organ being scanned. Nuclear medicine is a very useful tool in the diagnosis of disorders affecting the bones, heart, lungs kidneys, thyroid and gallbladder.
    • Do I have to do anything special before having a nuclear medicine scan?
      There are some exams that require that you do not eat before the test; others may require you to stop certain medications that you are taking. There are also others that require no preparation at all. The doctor's office which booked the exam for you will supply you with the proper preparation information. If you have any questions about your preparation you can call us at 401-793-4450
      General preparation guidelines
    • Who will perform my test?
      A nuclear technologist will perform your exam. Technologists at The Miriam are highly trained and licensed by the State of Rhode Island in the field of nuclear medicine technology.
    • What happens during a nuclear medicine examination?
      Many different types of organs can be imaged by nuclear medicine, and different scans require different procedures. Generally you will be brought into an exam room by a technologist and asked a few questions. Some exams require that you change into a patient gown. You may be asked to lie on an exam table to receive an injection in your arm, or you may be asked to swallow some capsules, such as in a thyroid test. A gamma camera is placed over the area of interest. Scans vary in length, depending on the procedure.
    • Will it hurt?
      The only pain from nuclear medicine exams may be from the initial needle placement to inject the small amount of radioactivity. However, in certain nuclear medicine exams the radioactivity is administered orally and no needle is needed.
    • Is it safe?
      Very small amounts of radioactive materials are used (only enough to perform an exam).Side effects are very rare with the radiopharmaceuticals used in diagnostic nuclear medicine exams. Nuclear medicine procedures may not be appropriate for pregnant women or nursing mothers. Before your exam, please inform the technologist if you have any concerns.
    • How soon  may I eat after the test?
      You may eat immediately afterwards.
    • How do I get my results?
      When your scan is finished a radiologist (a physician specializing in x-ray and nuclear medicine) will interpret the scan, and we send a written report to your physician.


    To schedule an exam please call 401-793-4480. For more information about general nuclear medicine at The Miriam Hospital, call 401-793-4118 or e-mail