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Nuclear Medicine

You will be given a low dose of a radioactive substance (either in a vein in your arm or in a pill depending on the type of exam you are having). Then a special camera is used to take pictures. These pictures are developed based on the energy produced by the radioactive substance put into your body. A disease or poorly functioning organ will show up differently than a healthy organ on the images.


Preparation depends on the test ordered. You may be instructed to not eat or drink anything the night before your test. You may also need to stop taking certain medications several days before your tests—it’s import to tell you healthcare provider what medications and herbs you are currently taking.

Important things to tell your technologist:

  • If you are pregnant
  • Any previous exams of the area being tested
  • Any previous surgeries of the area being tested
  • Current medications and herbs you are taking
  • Symptoms you are having

Some specific reasons this test may be used:

  • Analyzing kidney function
  • Image blood flow and function of the heart
  • Scan lungs for respiratory and blood flow problems
  • Identify blockage of the gallbladder
  • Determine the presence or spread of cancer
  • Measure thyroid function
  • Evaluate bones for fracture, infection, arthritis or tumor

Note: The radioactive material used is made precisely for the time of your test, so it is very important that you are on time.

Additional Note: The imaging staff is trained to acquire images for a radiologist to review. The radiologist is specially trained to look at x-ray studies and make a diagnosis off of them. The imaging staff is not fully trained to do so, therefore we will not be able to give you results at the time of your exam.

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