Nuclear imaging procedures use small amounts of radioactive material and special cameras to diagnose and treat diseases throughout the body. Nuclear imaging exams allow physicians to see the structure and real-time function of a particular organ, tissue, or bone.
What to Expect
Depending on the type of exam, you may be asked to wear a gown. Metal objects may interfere with the quality of images so you will be asked to remove all jewelry or other metal objects including eyeglasses or dentures.
You will receive the radioactive material, also known as a radiopharmaceutical or radiotracer, through an IV or it may be given orally, depending on the type of exam. Once the radioactive material travels through the body to the area being studied, which may take seconds to hours, the technologist will position you on the table and a scanner or camera will take a series of images. You will need to remain as still as possible while the images are being obtained. After the exam is complete, you may resume normal activity unless otherwise instructed by your doctor. Over time, the small amount of radioactive material in your body will lose its radioactivity.
The results of your nuclear imaging exam are communicated to your referring provider 1-2 business days after your exam. If you have questions about your results, you are encouraged to speak with your referring provider, who can discuss your results in detail with you.
Most types of nuclear imaging exams require special preparation. Please check preparation instructions for your specific type of exam prior to your appointment day.
- During a nuclear imaging exam, the patient is exposed to a small level of radiation. Radiation doses are closely monitored and do not exceed stringent guidelines set forth by the American College of Radiology.
- Nuclear imaging exams can be safe for pregnant women but be sure to tell your doctor if you are or could be pregnant.
- Allergic reactions to radioactive materials are rare but can occur. Tell your radiologist or technologist if you have any allergies or any complications with prior nuclear imaging exams.
- Nuclear imaging is unique because it provides information about function of certain parts of the body.
Learn More About Your Nuclear Imaging Exam
The links above will take you to detailed examination descriptions. This list may not include every examination performed in this area. For information regarding performance of unlisted procedures, please call our scheduling department at (901) 387-2340.