Nuclear Medicine > Exams & Procedures > Brain Scan
This scan tests the blood supply and blood distribution to the brain. This test may have been ordered by your doctor to investigate several different possible disease processes:
- Detect stroke.
- Evaluate blood supply to the brain after an accident.
- Help determine the cause of reoccurring headaches.
- Evaluate the possibility of Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia (altered mental states).
- Localize where in the brain a seizure comes from.
- Document the presence of brain death.
The brain scan involves the injection of a radioactive tracer that will flow to the brain and instantaneously localize in proportion to the blood supply. Pictures will be taken to form a three-dimensional image of the brain.
- Bring a list of all medications and supplements you take.
- Do not bring children or pregnant women with you to the department. We do not want to expose them to unnecessary radiation.
- Any of these procedures is subject to change according to the nuclear medicine physician. The duration of the tests is a rough estimate. Please be aware that the time may be lengthened if a scan has to be repeated, if emergency cases are brought to the department or due to unforeseen circumstances.
About the Procedure
- The procedure takes about one hour.
- A technologist will briefly explain the test to you and try to answer any questions you may have about the procedure.
- A technologist will ask you a few questions about your medical history and medications.
- You will be asked to lie down on a bed.
- A camera will be positioned near your head. The camera will be close but will not touch you. Please inform the technologist if you are afraid of small spaces (claustrophobic).
- The technologist will give you an injection of a radioactive tracer into a vein.
- Pictures are taken as the tracer is injected.
- You are given a 20 to 30 minute break.
- You will be repositioned under the camera and pictures will be taken continuously for 30 minutes.
- It is very important that you do not move during these pictures - movement causes blurring of the pictures and results in having to take the pictures again.