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Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear Medicine (NM):

Nuclear medicine is a specialty imaging modality that uses small amounts of radioactive materials called radiotracers that are injected into the bloodstream, inhaled or swallowed.

Gamma rays are emitted in the form of energy as the radiotracer travels to the area being examined.  These rays are captured by a special camera and transmitted to a computer which develops the image to be interpreted.  Nuclear medicine imaging supplies the radiologist with information that cannot be obtained using other imaging procedures.  This type of imaging is beneficial for visualizing the heart, gallbladder, kidney function and cancerous diseases.

How do I prepare for my exam?

Preparations are exam dependant and you will be contacted with instructions the day prior to your testing.

What should I wear?

You should wear loose comfortable clothing.

What can I expect?

A technologist will explain the test, duration and ask about your medical history.  It is possible you will be asked to change into a gown or have an IV started.  You will then be instructed to lie on a table.  A machine that resembles a “doughnut” will be used to image your body as the table moves in and out of the center.  The duration of nuclear medicine testing varies by exam.

How will I feel after the exam?

A majority of patients are able to resume normal activities immediately after testing.