type description duration
bone scan checks your bones for abnormalities takes up to 4 hours
brain DaTscan checks how your dopamine transporters are working in your brain up to 5 hours
cardiac perfusion checks the blood supply to your heart takes 2 hours and 2 visits
cadiac MUGA checks your heart is pumping blood properly up to 1 hour
gastric emptying scan measures how quickly your stomach empties up to 2 hours
gastrointestinal bleed scan checks for gastrointestinal bleeds up to 6 hours
kidney DMSA checks how your kidneys are working up to 3 hours
kidney GFR measures how well your kidneys are working around 5 hours
kidney renogram checks the drainage of kidneys and looks for obstructions up to 1 hour
liver HIDA checks how your liver and gall bladder are working up to 2 hours
lung V/Q scan checks how your lungs are working up to 1 hour
Meckle’s scan checks for a digestive system disorder called Meckel’s diverticulum up to 2 hours
MIBG scan used to diagnose and treat certain abdominal growths up to 6 hours
octreo scan used to diagnose and treat certain abdominal growths up to 5 hours
parathyroid scan checks your parathyroid gland up to 3 hours
SeHcAT scan measures how your body absorbs bile salts 1st visit should last around 4 hours, the 2nd visit should last around 1 hour
sentinel node study checks lymphatic drainage around 15 minutes
thyroid scan checks how your thyroid is working up to 45 minutes
thyroid therapy treats overactive thyroid glands up to 1 hour

When you’re referred to Nuclear Medicine, we’ll send you some information about what to expect during your appointment. Most of our appointments are outpatient appointments, which means you will not need to stay in the hospital overnight.

Throughout your appointment and procedure our specialist team will be there to support and care for you. Our team consists of:

  • technologists
  • nurses
  • clinical scientists (physicists)
  • radiologists
  • admin and clerical staff

Our technologists manufacture the radiopharmaceuticals required for your test. A technologist will perform the technical aspects of your appointment including scanning and processing of images. The technologist you see on the day will answer any questions you may have.

Many of the radioactive substances we use are made to order every morning in our dedicated radiopharmacy at Cumberland Infirmary. Occasionally, technical problems may cause delays. If this happens please bear with us and we will start your procedure as soon as we can.

When you arrive for your appointment you’ll be given either an injection, tablet or meal to eat. This will deliver a small amount of radioactivity to the area of your body we need to look at.

One of our nurses will normally give you your injection, tablet or meal. Our nurses are specially trained to work safely with radiation and will look after you while you’re in our department.

If you’re having a test that includes images, these will be taken using a gamma camera. Depending on the type of scan you’re having the camera may be positioned over one area of your body or it may move around you. Some tests involve taking blood samples.

Once the scan is complete you’ll be able to go home. You will not have any side effects and will be able to continue with your usual daily activities. We may ask you to restrict close contact with small children and pregnant people but we will give you individual advice in your appointment letter and on the day.

Your scans will be examined and reported on by one of our radiologists or clinical scientists. Your results will be sent to the GP or hospital consultant who referred you.

Before you visit

If you think you may be pregnant or are breastfeeding please contact the department on the number below.

If you have any special mobility requirements that may impact your visit to the department, please get in touch and we’ll do our best to accommodate your needs.

If you work on a nuclear site such as Sellafield or Chaplecross, please let us know on the day and we’ll prepare some guidance for you.

If you’re planning on travelling abroad within 1 week of your appointment date, please let us know on the day and we’ll prepare some guidance for you.

Cumberland Infirmary

Medical Physics department
Old hospital building

01228 814701

The Medical Physics department is situated within the old hospital at CIC. The easiest way to the department is via the footpath next to the bus stop.


West Cumberland Hospital

Medical Physics department
Level 2
Old hospital building

01946 523456

The Medical Physics department is situated on level 2 of M block within the old hospital.