GE reflux (milk scan)

When your child is scheduled for a radiology test, both you and your child may have questions about it. We encourage parents to read this information, then talk about the test with your child.

What is a GE reflux (milk scan)?

A GE reflux (milk scan) test determines whether or not your child has reflux (food or liquid coming up from the stomach). It also determines how much reflux your child has and how well the stomach empties.

How is the test performed?

A technologist will take you and your child into an exam room. You will see a large table and camera connected to a computer.

The nuclear medicine technologist will ask for a bottle of your child’s formula or will provide milk for older children. A small amount of radionuclide will be added to the milk (there is no taste or smell), and your child will be asked to drink it. When your child is full, he will lie on his back on the exam table for about 1 hour while diagnostic information is gathered. There are no side effects, and the radionuclide loses radioactivity within a few hours.

The technologist will check the pictures to make sure they are complete before you and your child leave the hospital.

How do I tell my child about this test?

Because you know your child best, explain this test to your child in a way that he will understand before you come to Children’s. The staff also will explain the procedure to you and your child before and during the test.

Will it hurt?

For many children, the most important thing to know is whether or not this test will hurt. Assure your child that although there may be some discomfort, it will only last a few minutes. Remind your child that this test is being done to help the doctor find out how her body is working inside. By talking about the test with your child, you may help her be more comfortable during the test, which will make the procedure easier for your child and you. There are no injections used for this procedure.

Does my child have to do anything different before the test?

  • Your child’s stomach needs to be empty for the test, so she may not eat or drink anything, including water, for a number of hours before the test, depending on her age. A Children’s staff member or your child’s doctor will tell you how long your child will have to fast.
  • After the test, your child may return to normal eating routines. The test itself usually takes 90 minutes. If your child’s stomach is slow to empty, the test will take longer.
  • If your child drinks formula from a bottle or has special diet needs, please bring a full bottle of formula with you for the test.
  • Children under 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

What can my child expect after the test?

Your child may resume normal activity and diet.

General radiology requirements

  • Pregnant mothers: Women who are pregnant can’t be in the exam room. They must have a family member or friend over the age of 18 accompany their child into the examination room during the exam (with the exception of the ultrasound and nuclear medicine rooms).
  • Family or friends under the age of 18 years old: If you are not the patient and under the age of 18 years old you will not be allowed to remain in the radiology exam room during the exam.
  • Siblings: Siblings are not allowed in the radiology room while the exam is being performed (with the exception of the ultrasound rooms). Please make arrangements to have an adult accompany them in the waiting room.
  • Attire: Children wearing clothing with snaps or buttons will need to change into hospital attire. Any item such as jewelry, undergarments with metal, or EKG patches in affected area will be removed prior to the exam.

NPO (nothing by mouth) guidelines

  • General radiology NPO guidelines
  • >12 months 4 Hours NPO
  • 0-12 months 3 Hours NPO
  • No sedation is needed for a GE Reflux (Milk Scan).