Except for intravenous injections, most nuclear medicine procedures are painless and are rarely associated with significant discomfort or side effects.
When the radiotracer is given intravenously, you will feel a slight pin prick when the needle is inserted into your vein for the intravenous line. When the radioactive material is injected into your arm, you may feel a cold sensation moving up your arm, but there are generally no other side effects.
When swallowed, the radiotracer has little or no taste. When inhaled, you should feel no differently than when breathing room air or holding your breath.
With some procedures, a catheter may be placed into your bladder, which may cause temporary discomfort.
It is important that you remain still while the images are being recorded. Though nuclear imaging itself causes no pain, there may be some discomfort from having to remain still or to stay in one particular position during imaging.
If you are claustrophobic, you may feel some anxiety while you are being scanned.
Unless your physician tells you otherwise, you may resume your normal activities after your nuclear medicine scan. If any special instructions are necessary, you will be informed by a technologist, nurse or physician before you leave the nuclear medicine department.
Through the natural process of radioactive decay, the small amount of radiotracer in your body will lose its radioactivity over time. It may also pass out of your body through your urine or stool during the first few hours or days following the test. You should also drink plenty of water to help flush the radioactive material out of your body as instructed by the nuclear medicine personnel.
For more information on what you will experience during and after a CT scan, see Computed Tomography at (www.RadiologyInfo.org/en/sitemap/modal-alias.cfm?modal=CT).