Frequently asked questions about coming in to the nuclear medicine department
Is there a risk from the radiation?
The amount of radiation you receive is small. It is similar to that of an ordinary x-ray examination. The benefits of the scan far outweigh any potential risk to your health from the radiation. However please do not bring children with you to the department; this is to avoid exposing them to unnecessary radiation. If you have any concerns that you would like to discuss, please contact us.
What if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
We would not normally carry out these tests on women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you have been asked to have one of our investigations and are pregnant, think you might be pregnant or if you are breastfeeding, please contact us. We can then decide if the procedure needs to go ahead and give you any advice.
Can I bring someone with me?
Yes, you are welcome to bring a friend or relative with you. However please do not bring children or anyone who is pregnant with you to the department; this is to avoid exposing them to unnecessary radiation. If you have children in your care that you must bring with you, please contact us for advice
How do I get to the hospital?
We will enclose a map and information with your appointment letter on how to get to us. If you are arriving by car, parking is limited so please allow extra time. Find out here about directions to the hospital and parking costs.
Do I need to stop any medication I take or starve beforehand?
For most of our tests you can eat and drink and take your medication as normal. If there are any restrictions, you will be told them in your appointment letter. If you are unsure, please contact us for advice.
Will I have to go inside a tunnel?
None of our tests involve a machine with a tunnel. Some images are taken with you lying down and some sitting up. For some tests the machine will need to be over your head. If you suffer from claustrophobia, let us know when you arrive so that we can make your imaging as easy as possible for you.
Will I have an injection?
For most of our tests you will need to have a small injection. This is no more painful than a blood test. If you are needle phobic, please contact us for reassurance.
After the test can I drive, go back to work or go on holiday?
After your test you will be well enough to drive and return to work if you wish. If your work involves using photographic film or any radioactive substance you may not be able to return to work immediately.
Due to increased security checks at airports and ferry terminals, if you intend to travel by airplane or ferry within five days of your test, we would suggest you take your appointment letter with you.
Are there any other restrictions after the test?
After the test you can eat as normal. For certain tests you may be given advice in your appointment letter if you suffer from urinary incontinence. You may also be asked to restrict the amount of time you spend with pregnant women or small children for the rest of the day. If you are the sole carer for young children or if you have any other concerns, please contact us for advice