Some discomfort during a nuclear medicine procedure may arise from the intravenous injection, usually done with a small needle. With some exams, a catheter may be placed into the bladder, which may cause some temporary discomfort. Lying still on the examining table may be unpleasant for some patients.
Unfortunately, many children fear any visit to a medical center. This fear is sometimes made worse when they see strange machinery and do not understand how it works. Most healthcare personnel who deal extensively with children know how to calm a child's fears. Many imaging suites have videotapes or toys on hand to help a child pass the time. Often, a child can bring a favorite toy to the examination room. Parents are encouraged to stay with the child to help calm the child and decrease the child's motion during imaging. Children less than three years old may be given a mild sedative, usually orally, for longer exams if needed.
Unless the child has been sedated, daily activities can be resumed after the nuclear medicine examination. The radiopharmaceutical loses its radioactivity generally over 24 hours. It passes out of the body in the urine or stool.