Nuclear Medicine at Diagnostic Health Alaska

Diagnostic Health Alaska offers two convenient nuclear medicine locations. Nuclear medicine uses small amounts of radioactive substances to evaluate organs, bones, or tissues. Unlike X-rays, where external radiation is used, in nuclear medicine, the patient takes radiopharmaceuticals internally. There are several types of nuclear medicine diagnostic techniques, including those using single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT), which let your doctor analyze the function of some of your internal organs.

At DHA, your nuclear medicine study is performed a calm, private, and compassionate environment. Further, we are accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR) – indicating the highest standard of nuclear medicine imaging. Among the types of nuclear medicine studies we offer are:

How to Prepare for Your Nuclear Medicine Appointment:

Prior to arriving for your SPECT exam:

  • Contact us to find out if you have restrictions on what you can eat and drink before your appointment.

  • If your exam requires intravenous (IV) contrast, please contact us regarding additional testing that may be needed prior to your appointment.

On the day of your SPECT exam:

Specific instructions will be provided to you based on your scheduled exam type, however general instructions are as follows:
  • We may ask you to change into a hospital gown for the exam.
  • Please remove all metal, including jewelry, eyeglasses, dentures, hairpins, etc.
  • The technologist conducts the SPECT scan from a control room. You can talk to the technologist throughout the exam.
  • You will lie still on a table during your exam.
  • SPECT exams do require radiation. Following your exam, be sure to drink plenty of water to help flush the contrast from your body.
Specific instructions will be provided to you based on your scheduled exam type, however general instructions are as follows:
  • Nothing by mouth 6 hours prior to your exam
Specific instructions will be provided to you based on your scheduled exam type, however general instructions are as follows:
  • Nothing by mouth 6 hours prior to your exam
  • Drink plenty of water the night before to be well hydrated for your exam
Specific instructions will be provided to you based on your scheduled exam type, however general instructions are as follows:
  • Nothing by mouth after midnight the night prior to your exam
Specific instructions will be provided to you based on your scheduled exam type, however general instructions are as follows:
  • 3 day minimum isolation
Specific instructions will be provided to you based on your scheduled exam type, however general instructions are as follows:
  • No caffeine or other stimulants for 12 hours prior
Specific instructions will be provided to you based on your scheduled exam type, however general instructions are as follows:
  • Liquid diet, non-creamy soups, crackers on the morning of your appointment
Specific instructions will be provided to you based on your scheduled exam type, however general instructions are as follows:
  • Nothing by mouth 6 hours prior to your exam
  • Bring 2 raw eggs, 2 slices of bread and 1 tablespoon of jam/jelly preservatives for the technologist to prepare an egg sandwich to eat for your exam
  • Call the office for specific prep instruction at 907-729-5800

What to Expect During Your SPECT Exam

SPECT scans require the use of a radioactive injection, called a tracer, to be administered intravenously. You will need to lie quietly while the tracer is absorbed into your body. The length of time you will need to wait depends on the type of scan your doctor ordered for you.

During your scan, you will lie on a cushioned table while the SPECT machine rotates around you. The most important thing to remember is to lie still and relax, as any movement during this time can distort the image. You will be able to communicate with your technologist throughout the exam, which typically lasts about 30 minutes, depending on which exam(s) your doctor has ordered.

* Depending on your circumstances and when compared to hospital-based medical imaging rates.