Nuclear medicine is a type of medical imaging where very small amounts of radioactive material known as radiopharmaceuticals are swallowed, inhaled, or injected into the body. A special type of camera called a gamma camera is then used to pick up the radiation emitted by the radiopharmaceuticals, creating images from inside the body.
Nuclear medicine is useful for diagnosing many different medical conditions and may also aid in identifying diseases very early on. It can also be used to treat disease.
Preparing For Your Exam
Preparation for a nuclear medicine exam varies. Your doctor will provide you with information specific to your test.
Please follow our general preparation instructions. In some cases, you might be asked to wear a gown to wear.
Pregnant women should talk to their doctor before having a nuclear medicine procedure as they are generally not performed if you are expecting. Also, discuss your medications with your doctor to be sure that they won’t interfere with the radiopharmaceuticals.
During Your Exam
Depending on your particular test, you might be asked to sit upright or lie down on a table. The gamma camera will be positioned over the organ or area of the body that is being studied. The test will generally take 15-60 minutes.
After Your Exam
Once the procedure is complete, a radiologist will review the images to confirm that they are usable, and then you can change, if necessary, and depart. Your doctor will discuss the results with you at your next appointment. You will not receive the results at the time of the test.