Nuclear medicine is a radiology specialty that uses small amounts of a radioactive “tracer” to view the body’s anatomy and real-time organ function. These tracers move through specific parts of the body while a nuclear medicine camera captures their images.
Our Nuclear Medicine Technologist
Our nuclear medicine technologists are extensively trained to safely and properly manage radioactive imaging agents and to operate nuclear medicine imaging equipment. All are credentialed by the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board and the American Registry of Radiological Technologists.
Why You Would Need a Nuclear Medicine Study
Nuclear medicine procedures, or studies, can help detect and diagnose many conditions. These include heart disease, bone injuries and spine abnormalities as well as problems affecting the gall bladder and other organs. Nuclear medicine studies can clearly identify cancers, often before they are visible on other imaging tests such as CT or MRI.
Nuclear medicine is frequently used to see how well a disease is responding to treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation. It also helps evaluate brain and heart function, and blood supply to a particular organ.
Nuclear medicine may also be used to treat thyroid disease and certain types of cancers.
If you are or may be pregnant, or are breastfeeding, please notify your doctor and technologist before undergoing a nuclear medicine scan.
What You Can Expect
Before the test, we will get your medical history from your doctor and give you test instructions either by phone or in person. We encourage you to ask any questions you may have.
A skilled technologist will administer your test and gather the images according to your doctor’s instructions. First, you will be given a small amount of radioactive “tracer.” This will be by pill, inhalation or injection, depending on the part of the body being scanned. The tracer is prepared in advance for each patient and timed to the scheduled appointment, so it is very important to arrive on time. When it is time to obtain the images with the camera, you will be asked to lie on an exam table.
Some nuclear medicine studies require that the patient return multiple times in the same week.
The exam takes between five minutes and four hours, depending on the particular test.