MRI uses a powerful magnet, radio waves, and a computer to produce images. These images help to evaluate how well areas of the body are functioning and to detect and treat different medical conditions.

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A CT scan quickly takes multiple images of internal organs, soft tissue, and other body parts. These images are then used to diagnose cancer and other internal diseases.

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Women’s Health goes beyond screening mammograms. Exams like DEXA bone density tests, OB Ultrasounds, and Breast Biopsy play a vital role in preventative health care.

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Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear Medicine

Using small amounts of radioactive material, nuclear medicine is used to diagnose many diseases that attack the body's organs. You will be given a radiotracer that will be injected into a vein or swallowed depending on the exam you are having. The radiotracer will then accumulate in the organ according to how that organ is functioning.


The gamma camera is similar to a CT machine, a large, doughnut-like scanner with a quiet camera that detects the gamma rays given off by the radiotracer. Areas in the organ that show a greater intensity are where large amounts of the radiotracer have gathered which indicates high chemical activity. On the other hand, a small amount of radiotracer in the organ, which indicates low chemical activity, appears less intense.


The images are read by our radiologist and a report is sent to your doctor in a timely manner.


For more information visit:WWW.RADIOLOGYINFO.ORG


Nuclear Medicine FAQs

Why is a Nuclear Medicine Scan needed?

Physicians use radionuclide imaging procedures to visualize the structure and function of an organ, tissue, bone or system of the body.

Nuclear medicine imaging scans are performed to:

  • Analyze kidney function.
  • Visualize heart blood flow and function (such as a myocardial perfusion scan).
  • Scan lungs for respiratory and blood flow problems.
  • Identify inflammation in the gallbladder.
  • Evaluate bones for fractures, infection, arthritis and tumors.
  • Determine the presence or spread of cancer in various parts of the body.
  • Identify bleeding into the bowel.
  • Locate the presence of infection.
  • Measure thyroid function to detect an overactive or underactive thyroid.
  • Investigate abnormalities in the brain, such as seizures, memory loss and abnormalities in blood flow.
  • Localize the lymph nodes before surgery in patients with breast cancer or melanoma.


How does the procedure work?

With ordinary x-ray examinations, an image is made by passing x-rays through your body from an outside source. In contrast, nuclear medicine procedures use a radioactive material called a radiopharmaceutical or radiotracer, which is injected into your bloodstream, swallowed or inhaled as a gas. This 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. A gamma camera, PET scanner, or probe detects this energy and with the help of a computer creates pictures offering details on both the structure and function of organs and tissues in your body.


Unlike other imaging techniques, nuclear medicine imaging exams focus on depicting physiologic processes within the body, such as rates of metabolism or levels of various other chemical activities, instead of showing anatomy and structure. Areas of greater intensity, called "hot spots", indicate where large amounts of the radiotracer have accumulated and where there is a high level of chemical activity. Less intense areas, or "cold spots", indicate a smaller concentration of radiotracer and less chemical activity.


In radioactive iodine (I-131) therapy, radioactive iodine (I-131) is swallowed, absorbed into the bloodstream in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and concentrated from the blood by the thyroid gland where it destroys cells within that organ.


What will I experience during and after the procedure?

Except for intravenous injections, most nuclear medicine procedures are painless and are rarely associated with significant discomfort or side effects.


If the radiotracer is given intravenously, you will feel a slight pin prick when the needle is inserted into your vein for the intravenous line. When the radioactive material is injected into your arm, you may feel a cold sensation moving up your arm, but there are generally no other side effects.


When swallowed, the radiotracer has little or no taste. When inhaled, you should feel no differently than when breathing room air or holding your breath.


With some procedures, a catheter may be placed into your bladder, which may cause temporary discomfort.


It is important that you remain still while the images are being recorded. Though nuclear imaging itself causes no pain, there may be some discomfort from having to remain still or to stay in one particular position during imaging.


Unless your physician tells you otherwise, you may resume your normal activities after your nuclear medicine scan. If any special instructions are necessary, you will be informed by a technologist, nurse or physician before you leave the nuclear medicine department.


Through the natural process of radioactive decay, the small amount of radiotracer in your body will lose its radioactivity over time. It may also pass out of your body through your urine or stool during the first few hours or days following the test. You may be instructed to take special precautions after urinating, to flush the toilet twice and to wash your hands thoroughly. You should also drink plenty of water to help flush the radioactive material out of your body as instructed by the nuclear medicine personnel.


Will the radiation from the nuclear medicine test be harmful?

The amount of radiation exposure from a nuclear medicine test is very small, and the effects go away within hours of the test being completed.


Patient Preparations for Nuclear Medicine Exams


You may not have anything to eat or drink 6 hours prior to exam.


Bone Scan

You will receive an injection and be asked to return to our facility 3 hours later to do your scan.


Gastric Empty

You may not have anything to eat or drink 6 hours prior to exam. You will be asked to bring an egg salad sandwich.


Gallium Scan

You will receive an injection and be asked to return to our facility 48-72 hours for your scan.


I131 Whole body

You will be asked to take a pill and return to our facility 48 hours later for your scan.


No patient preparation is required for the following exams:

  • Indium 111 WBC Scan
  • Parathyroid Scan
  • Hemangioma
  • I123 Scan
  • GI Bleed
  • Liver/Spleen Scan
  • Lung/VQ Scan