Nuclear Medicine

What is nuclear medicine?

Nuclear medicine is a subspecialty in the field of radiology that combines the use of imaging technology and small amounts of radioactive material to detect and diagnose a variety of medical conditions.

What can you expect during your nuclear medicine exam?

A nuclear medicine exam involves putting a radioactive substance inside the body. You may take this substance either in capsule form or receive it intravenously (IV), depending on the type of exam you are getting and the area of the body that’s being examined. The time between administration of the radioactive substance and the scan also varies.

During the exam, a technologist positions you on a table. A special gamma camera, which can detect the energy being emitted by the radioactive material inside your body, is used to capture images of the area that is under examination. It’s important to remain still during the exam to avoid blurry images.

How can you prepare for your nuclear medicine exam?

  • Limit your food intake prior to the exam, especially if the stomach is being evaluated.
  • Increase your water intake if the exam is evaluating the kidneys.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing without metal zippers and snaps.
  • Inform your physician of the medications you are taking.

* The radioactive substance is specially ordered and delivered for your exam. It is very important you keep your appointment or cancel at least 48 hours prior to the exam.