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About the nuclear medicine unit
NUCLEAR MEDICINE = SCINTIGRAPHY
Nuclear medicine uses a specific, weakly radioactive product to study the functioning of one or more organs. The product is usually injected into a vein in the arm. After injection, it may be necessary to wait a certain amount of time before taking images. A gamma camera or positron emission tomograph (PETscan) captures the weak radiation emitted, enabling the distribution of the product in one or more organs to be visualised and measured. The information gathered in this way enables the nuclear medicine specialist to draw up the protocol to be sent to the prescribing physician.
PREPARING FOR THE EXAM
Preparation depends on the type of examination. When you book your appointment, you will be given the necessary information, such as whether you need to fast, stop taking certain medicines, etc.
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact the nuclear medicine department for further information.
Don't forget to have your doctor's written request with you.
If you are pregnant or think you might be, or if you are breast-feeding, let us know when you book your appointment and as soon as you arrive in the department.
To give the product time to distribute itself in your body, you will generally have to wait a few minutes to a few hours, or you will have to come back the next day or two. During this waiting period, you may be asked to drink water. In general, you will be free to come and go as you please, except for the PET scan, for which you will be asked to remain in the nuclear medicine department.
THE EXAMINATION: FROM A FEW MINUTES TO AN HOUR
During the examination, you will need to remain motionless in a sitting or lying position, so that the camera can take images of an area or the whole of your body. Taking the images generally takes between 15 and 45 minutes. Don't be alarmed if the examination takes longer than this, in order to obtain the best possible images of the organ to be examined.
An allergic reaction to the product injected is exceptional.
The radiation received is comparable to that of a lung X-ray. Only the dose injected or absorbed determines your irradiation; the number of images has no bearing.
By following the advice given to you - which often involves drinking plenty of fluids and urinating very regularly - you can make an effective contribution to limiting your radiation exposure.
It is very important to wash your hands thoroughly after each visit to the toilet. If you are incontinent, wait two days before taking your nappies out for household waste collection.
Avoid close contact (< 1m) and prolonged contact (> 30 min) with young children (< 10 years) and pregnant women on the day of the examination.
If you are pregnant, the examination is not recommended, unless the benefit of the examination outweighs the risk of irradiating the foetus.
If you are breast-feeding, tell the staff in the nuclear medicine department, who will give you some simple but very effective advice on radiation protection.
If you have to travel, the portals at airports may detect activity. Remember to ask for a certificate of presence when you come for your examination.
The staff in the nuclear medicine department will do everything they can to make your stay in the department as pleasant as possible. Please do not hesitate to ask any questions. They are always ready to answer your questions and address any concerns you may have (tel 02/614.25.30 or 35.30)
The Department has 3 gamma cameras including one hybrid SPECT CT-camera, 2 densitometers and a positron emission tomography (PET scan).