Nuclear Medicine

What is Nuclear Medicine?

Nuclear Medicine differs from other areas of radiology in that it enables the radiologist to determine the actual function of many internal organs and bones rather than just the anatomy.  Nuclear medicine scans are most often used to study the heart, lungs, thyroid gland, spleen, liver, and other organs.  A common nuclear medicine scan is a bone scan.  A bone scan identifies bone problems, such as cancer, infections, or fractures.  It also checks joint replacements and finds joint problems.

Nuclear Imaging can detect:
  • Tumors
  • Fractures
  • Irregular or inadequate blood flow to various tissues
  • Blood cell disorders and inadequate functioning or organs, such as thyroid and pulmonary function deficiencies
What can I expect during the exam?

You will be gently positioned on an imaging table.  The technologist will place a camera close to your body.  You will be asked to lie still during imaging.  The camera or table may then be adjusted for additional images and there may be a short wait while images are reviewed.

You will be administered a chemical that has been “tagged” with a radioactive compound (radionuclide).  This substance is safe and specially prepared to collect temporarily in the specific part of the body to be studied.

Once in the selected organ, the chemicals emit gamma rays that are detected by a gamma camera and assembled as a scan.  After the exam is over, the body will naturally dispose of these chemicals in a few days.

What do I do if I need to cancel an exam?

Test cancellation during business hours call 239-936-4068. Some test requires specific lead time to cancel the test medication. This will be discussed during a confirmation call to you by our staff.

How do I prepare for the exam?
  • You may be told not to eat, drink, or take certain medications before your scan.
  • You will be given a small amount of radioactive tracer.  It is most often injected, but it may be swallowed or inhaled.
  • After you receive the radioactive tracer, you may need to wait a few minutes, hours or days before having your scan.
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