Nuclear medicine studies at Lurie Children’s Hospital use “child sized” amounts of special substances called radiopharmaceuticals. They are used to diagnose and sometimes treat disease. They can give different information than CT, MRI or Xray exams. Nuclear Medicine exams provide images of how the body is working rather than what it looks like. Types of Nuclear Medicine scans include:
All birth assigned females ages 10 years and older will need to provide a urine sample prior to any Nuclear Medicine procedure. All birth assigned females ages 9 years and older who are menstruating will also need to provide a urine sample upon arrival. The type of exam being done will determine if any additional preparation, like fasting, will be necessary. Before coming to the hospital, talk to your doctor about why the exam has been ordered. Use our website and provided links to find out more about how it is performed. When you feel ready, you may talk to your child about why they are coming into the hospital that day. A parent's presence provides the best comfort and bringing in some favorite items from home can be helpful. That day, dress your child in comfortable clothing and try to avoid clothing with metal (zippers, snaps, etc.)
If you feel your child needs another layer of support, ask us about our Child Life Specialists. They are trained pediatric professionals who will work with your child to help them understand and normalize the imaging scan being done. These professionals offer positive coping strategies using medical play, developmentally appropriate language, and safe exploration of medical equipment to help calm your child.
Because Nuclear Medicine exams can be lengthy, it can be helpful to bring along a snack or drink with you for after the test. You may find it helpful to bring a stroller for younger children and a book, toy, or tablet for your child to play with while in the waiting area or in between images. Parents are allowed to accompany their child into the exam room. It may be helpful to make other arrangements for siblings.
When your child is released from the Nuclear Medicine Department, they may resume normal activities unless directed by your physician. The results from the exam will be read out by a Lurie Children’s Radiologist with-in 24 hours and sent to your ordering provider.