Gastric Emptying Scan

Nuclear medicine

What is a Gastric Emptying Scan?

A Gastric Emptying Scan is a Nuclear Medicine scan used to determine how fast the stomach empties food into the small intestine after eating. This scan is performed using very small amounts of radioactive material. The radioactive material is usually bound to other non-radioactive elements.

Gastric emptying scans are often used to diagnose gastroparesis, a condition in which the stomach’s muscles don’t work properly. This delays food from being sent to the small intestine. Your doctor may order the scans if you frequently vomit, reflux, feel bloated after eating, or complain of abdominal pain.

Preparing For Your Gastric Emptying Scan

  • No food or drink (6) six hours before your scan.
  • You may wear your own clothing, such as jogging, leggings, or sweat pants, as long as there are no metal fasteners, zippers, buttons, etc. Hospital gowns are available.
  • Jewelry and other accessories should be left at home, if possible, or removed prior to the scan.

Walk-in Patients: Please be sure to bring the signed order from your physician requesting the examination and your insurance card.

What You Can Expect During Your Gastric Emptying Scan

The Nuclear Medicine equipment used for your scan is performed in an open environment which alleviates discomfort or claustrophobia concerns, as the patient is not fully enclosed.

A Gastric Emptying scan procedure requires eating a light meal, such as eggs and toast, that contains a small amount of radioactive material. You must have no food or drink six (6) hours before your scan. Your technician will provide any food required for the test.

A gamma camera that detects the movement of the radioactive material is placed over your abdomen to monitor the rate at which food leaves your stomach.

The camera will sit over your abdomen but will not touch you. Multiple images are taken at various intervals.

The test will take approximately 4 hours to complete.

After Your Gastric Emptying Scan

In most cases, you can go about your day after your scan. The small amount of radioactive tracer will lose its reactivity or pass through your urine and stool over the next day or two. Drink plenty of water to help flush it out of your system.

How Soon Will Scan Results Be Available?

Your images are reviewed, and results interpreted by one of our qualified doctors who specializes in reading images (radiologist). The Radiologist will prepare a report, which is electronically sent to your doctor as soon as available, usually within 24-48 hours.

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Webster, TX 77598


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