Nuclear Medicine

What is Nuclear Medicine?

Nuclear medicine involves the use of small amounts of radioactive materials (or tracers) to help diagnose a variety of diseases. Nuclear medicine helps to determine the cause of the medical problem based on the function of the organ, tissue or bone. This is how nuclear medicine differs from an X-Ray, ultrasound or other diagnostic tests that determine the presence of diseases based on structural appearance.

Are Nuclear medicine procedures safe?

Nuclear medicine procedures are very safe. A patient only receives an extremely small amount of tracer, just enough to provide accurate diagnostic information. The amount of radiation in a nuclear medicine test is no more than that received in an x-ray.

Global Diagnostics provides nuclear medicine at the following locations:

During a Nuclear Medicine Scan

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding?

This procedure is not advisable for pregnant women, unless in exceptional circumstances. In such cases the dose of radioactivity administered will probably be reduced. Please advise us if you think you may be or are pregnant or if you will be accompanied by someone who may be pregnant.
If you are breast feeding we advise that you express enough milk for your baby to feed for 24 hours. During the 24 hours following the administration of the radioactive dye, ensure that you express and discard your breastmilk for your own comfort.

Medications?

Please take all of your medications as normal except if you are diabetic. (Please see preparation instructions for Diabetics).

May you bring a friend or relative?

You can bring a family member with you; however they will not be able to accompany you through the examination process. Due to limited seating in our department we do ask family members and friends to leave the department while your examination is taking place.

What should I bring along to my appointment?

Please bring along with you all previous imaging you may have had. These can provide valuable information for the Radiologist when they are reporting your exam. Bring your Medicare/Concession cards.

What to expect when having a Nuclear Medicine Scan
  • You will have a radioactive material introduced into the body either by injection, swallowing or by inhalation.

  • Different tracers are used to study different parts of the body.

  • Nuclear medicine examinations are performed in 3 parts – tracer administration, taking the pictures and analysing the images.

  • For many examinations, a certain amount of time is needed (from a few hours to a few days) for the tracers to accumulate in the part of the body being studied, before the pictures can be taken. The Nuclear Medicine Tecnnician will inform you on the day.

  • There is usually no undressing required for the tests.

  • A special camera, called a Gamma Camera, is used to take the images.

  • The imaging session, the time needed to obtain the pictures, may vary depending on the test.

  • The key to having a successful nuclear medicine scan is to remain as still as possible. Any movement may distort the image results making it difficult to interpret and increasing the possibility of having to re-do the test.

  • If lying on your back for long periods of time causes discomfort, you may take a pain reliever before the test is performed.

  • The radioactive tracer remains in your body for a short time and is cleansed from the body through natural bodily functions. Drinking plenty of fluids will help the tracer clear through your body more quickly.  Please ensure that you dual flush (flush twice) the toilet for 24 hours after your exam.

How should I prepare for the test?

Generally, there is no preparation required, but if it is needed, you will be notified before the examination. Certain examinations may require some slight preparation. Please bring previous imaging.

Note: if you have a colostomy bag, please bring a spare bag with you to your appointment.

What should I tell my doctor before the test is scheduled?

You should tell your doctor if you are pregnant, or think that you may pregnant. You should also tell your doctor if you are breast feeding. This procedure is not advisable for pregnant women, unless in exceptional circumstances. In such cases the dose of radioactivity administered will probably be reduced. Please advise us if you think you may be or are pregnant or if you will be accompanied by someone who may be pregnant.
If you are breast feeding we advise that you express enough milk for your baby to feed for 24 hours. During the 24 hours following the administration of the radioactive dye, ensure that you express and discard your breastmilk for your own comfort.

What happens after the examination?

When the exam is finished, the nuclear medicine physician will review your images and will prepare a report. Your doctor will explain the test results to you and discuss further procedures if any are required.

For more information…

If you feel you would like more information before your Nuclear scan, or have any concerns whatsoever, you are very welcome to contact our clinical team. Global Diagnostics employs nursing staff and specialised technicians to answer any patient queries and to accompany you to the test should this be required. Simply call your Global Diagnostics – contact details are on your referral slip.