Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine is one way we can see what’s happening inside your body to help diagnose or rule out many kinds of diseases, including cancers. It also helps us monitor the functioning of certain organs, like the thyroid, heart, kidneys and stomach.

These tests use a small, safe amount of radioactive tracer or contrast dye that goes into specific organs, bones or tissues. This tracer emits gamma rays inside the body that can be detected by a specialized camera to help us see what’s happening inside your body.

clerk at nuclear medicine reception desk

What to Expect:

  • Depending upon your type of scan, you may either be asked to wear a gown and undress to your underwear, or wear loose fitting clothing.
  • Women who are nursing or suspect they may be pregnant should tell their doctor first before having a scan.
  • You may be asked to drink the tracer, or it may be given to you by an IV injection in your arm, depending on your type of scan. It may take a few minutes or a few hours for the tracer to reach the specific area being studied.
  • You will lie on a padded table and be instructed to be in a position where the specialized camera can pick up the tracer in your body.
  • Your scan may take approximately 30 to 60 minutes.
  • These procedures are very safe. The amount of radiation needed for the exam is minimal and your body will eliminate the tracer material typically within 24 hours.
  • Drinking extra water will help remove the tracer more quickly.