Nuclear Medicine – Nuclear medicine procedures show physiology (function), opposed to most traditional imaging modalities showing anatomy. Nuclear medicine procedures use a pharmaceutical that has been labeled with a radionuclide (radiopharmaceutical) and is used for the diagnosis and treatment of disease. This is not X-ray contrast material (dye). The radiopharmaceutical is administered to the patient by injection, orally, inhaled, or ingested with food. Nuclear medicine uses a camera called a Gamma Camera interfaced with a computer. The administered radiopharmaceutical gives off gamma rays from the targeted organ; the camera detects the emitting gamma rays and stores them in the computer.
What to Expect
The patients lie on their back on an imaging table. A series of images with the camera rotating around the patient or table moving out of the camera are acquired, the patient will need to remain still. The camera moves very close to the body and is necessary to obtain the best quality images. Our camera has two camera heads, one over the table, and one under the table, both sides are open. Sometimes an IV line needs to be inserted for administering the radiopharmaceuticals. The technologist will call you the day before to confirm, prepare, and explain the procedure.
The length of time for nuclear medicine procedures vary greatly, depending on the type of exam; actual scanning time may take 20 minutes to several hours.
Preparing for Your Exam
Preps will vary depending on the specific exam and will be discussed when the technologist calls to confirm appointment.
- Please bring the physician's order to your appointment.
- Please arrive 15 minutes prior to you appointment time. We need to register you and have you fill out a medical history questionnaire.
- Please bring a list of your medications and vitamins, please include dosage.
- Please avoid wearing any jewelry or clothing that has metal on it. (zippers on pants are OK)
- Women should not wear girdles, under-wire bras, or front-closing bras or dresses.
Scheduling Your Appointment
Nuclear Medicine exams require you to schedule an appointment. Please call our toll free Patient Call Center at 1-855-884-1858 to schedule an appointment.