Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear Medicine

What is it?

Nuclear MedicineNuclear medicine uses computers and cameras, along with small amounts of radioactive material, to take images of your body in a noninvasive, safe, and painless way.

What is it for?

Nuclear medicine can show physicians how an organ is functioning and provides information that might otherwise be impossible to find without surgery or other diagnostics. It is used for:

  • Bone analysis
  • Brain scans
  • Breast scans
  • Heart scans
  • Kidney examination
  • Thyroid examination

Nuclear medicine can assess and diagnose abscesses, cysts, hematomas and tumors.

How to prepare

  • Talk to your health care provider about your medical history, current medical condition, medicines you are taking and any allergies you have
  • Do not wear jewelry or other metal accessories, as it may interfere with the procedure


  • Low radiation exposure
  • Allergic reaction
  • Slight pain and redness from radiotracer injection

What happens during?

  • You will lie on an examination table wearing a hospital gown
  • An I.V. may be adminstered
  • A radioactive material, called a radiopharmaceutical or radiotracer, is injected into the bloodstream, swallowed or inhaled as a gas. The radioactive material builds up in area of the body or organ that is being examined and gives off energy in the form of gamma rays.
  • It can take anywhere from several seconds to several days for the radiotracer to move through your body and into the area or organ being examined. As a result, imaging can happen immediately, a few hours later or several days later. The imaging can take 20 minutes to several hours and be done over the course of several days.
  • Cameras positioned close to your body will find this energy and create images of the structures and organs. The camera may rotate around your body or the camera may be stationary and you will be asked to adjust your position.
  • It’s important for you to be still while pictures are taken
  • The technologist will check the images for clarity and instruct you if more images are needed

What happens after?

  • The I.V. line will be removed if one was administered
  • You may resume your normal activities after a nuclear medicine examination

Side effects

  • Through a natural process, the small amount of radiotracer in your body will lose its radioactivity over a period of time. It can pass through urine or stool a few hours or a few days after the test.
  • You should drink plenty of water to flush the radiotracer from your body

More information:

If you would like to schedule an imaging exam, call (855) 269-4333. To find an imaging center near you, please view our locations.