Nuclear Medicine is used for the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of diseases and disorders. It usually requires the administration of a small amount of a radioactive substance, also known as a radiopharmaceutical or tracer. Each tracer is designed to concentrate in certain organ(s) depending on the exam requested by the physician.
A scan is taken of the organ(s) of interest by a specialized camera known as a Gamma Camera. This camera does not produce radiation. It is designed to detect extremely small amounts of the tracer that are concentrated in the organ(s) of interest. The amount of tracer administered is calculated to ensure the most accurate examination with the least amount of exposure to radiation.
Nuclear Medicine Applications
- Analyze kidney function
- Image blood flow and heart function
- Scan lungs for respiratory and blood-flow problems
- Identify blockage of the gallbladder
- Evaluate bones for fractures, infection, arthritis or tumor
- Determine the presence or spread of cancer
- Identify bleeding into the bowel
- Locate infection
- Measure thyroid function
- DATSCAN for Parkinson
- V.Q lung scan
- Bone scan
- 3-Phase bone scan
- Myocardial perfusion
- MUGA Scan
- Parathyroid w/SPECT
- Thyroid cancer survey
- Thyroid scan & uptake
- Renal scan w/Lasix
- Gastric emptying
- Esophageal transit
- HIDA w/ CCK
- Gallium 67 scan
- In-111 White blood cell study
Bone scan SPECT-CT
What to expect during your exam
During a nuclear medicine procedure, a radioactive material called a radiopharmaceutical or radiotracer is injected into the bloodstream, or swallowed. The radioactive material accumulates in the organ or area of your body being examined, where it gives off a small amount of energy in the form of gamma rays. Special cameras detect this energy and create computer images of the structure and function of organs and tissues in your body. Exam times will vary based on the specific exam.
Preparation for your exam
Your preparation depends on the type of nuclear imaging test you are having. Preparations for your exam will be provided to you when you schedule your appointment and prior to your exam.