Nuclear Medicine Gastric Emptying Scan

What is a Gastric Emptying Scan?

A nuclear medicine gastric emptying scan is a functional study done to measure your stomach’s digestion.  A small, safe amount of radioactive material is mixed into an egg or oatmeal which you will eat.  Pictures are taken over time to measure the digestion.

How is the examination performed?

A certified and registered Nuclear Medicine Technologist will perform your examination and can answer any questions you may have.  This exam is performed by the ingestion of the egg or oatmeal that has been mixed with a small amount of radioactive material.  Following your small radioactive meal, images are taken for about 90 minutes.

Who is a candidate for a Gastric Emptying Scan?

Anyone experiencing nausea, vomiting, cramping, unexplained weight loss, failure to thrive, gastric reflux, and/or complications from diabetes mellitus, for example.

Will I need to prepare for the exam?

Yes, please DO NOT eat or drink anything the morning of your exam.  DO NOT take Demerol or any morphine related pain medication for 24 hours prior to your appointment.  If you need to take other medications such as heart medications, please do so with a small amount of water in the morning. Please do not wear any clothing that has metal snaps or clasps near the abdomen.

What will I experience?

Your Nuclear Medicine Technologist will have you eat the egg or oatmeal and drink a 2 oz. glass of water or juice.  After you are done eating, the technologist will lay you down on the scanning table for your images.  The imaging process will last about 90 minutes.  Once your images are completed, the Nuclear Medicine Technologist will ask you if you have any questions, walk you out and thank you.

What happens next?

After the scan is complete, you will be able to resume normal daily activities.  Your images will be analyzed by the Technologist and the nuclear medicine computer and sent to the Radiologist’s computer for interpretation.

Your images will be interpreted by a State of New Mexico licensed and board certified Physician, Radiologist, that specializes in radiology interpretation.  A report will be dictated, transcribed, and faxed to the Physician that ordered your test.  Your Physician will receive the report within 24 hours and is responsible for notifying  you of the results.


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