Nuclear Medicine

What is Nuclear Medicine / Molecular Imaging?

Nuclear Medicine examinations involve the injection or ingestion of a small quantity of a radioactive material (radioisotope). The radioactive levels, in most cases are equal to or less than what you would receive from a routine X-ray or CT examination. The radioactive substance accumulates in the target area which is then examined under a gamma camera, to produce a picture.

Nuclear medicine examines function and structure, this means that it can show how an organ is working, not simply what it looks like and is commonly used for bone scans, thyroid studies, lung scans, cardiac stress tests, stomach, liver, kidney and gallbladder procedures.

When you make your booking…

You will need to tell staff if you are pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant.

Preparation

This will largely depend on the type of examination you are having. The practice will provide this information at the time you make your appointment.

On the day of your procedure, make sure you arrived 15 minutes before your appointment time to complete all necessary paperwork. Bring any previous X-ray films with you in case they’re required for comparison.

What does the procedure involve?

The radioisotope is administered by an IV injection in your arm. It may take a few minutes to days for the radioisotope to reach the specific area to be studied. If there is a long wait period, you will be free to leave the centre and return for your scan several hours or days later. You will be positioned on an examination table where you will be asked to remain as still as possible during imaging. Once in position, the radioisotope emits gamma rays that are detected by a special camera to produce images about the area of interest.

How long will it take?

Nuclear medicine procedures can take anywhere from just 30 minutes to several days.