What is Nuclear Medicine?
Nuclear Medicine is a sub-specialty of diagnostic medical imaging involving the use of radioisotopes to diagnose and treat disease. There are applications for Nuclear Medicine in assessing all systems of the body.
Nuclear Medicine studies use small amounts of radioactive substances known as tracers, which are designed to target and image a specific area of the body. While the studies do use radiation, the dose is very low and is rapidly excreted from the body, by your liver or in your urine.
If patients are pregnant or breast feeding, please notify the staff at the time of making the appointment as the study may need to be postponed.
For more information about radiation dose please view this leaflet. Radiation Dose Information for patients.
What to expect when arriving for an appointment?
When arriving for an appointment patients will be given an injection, usually into the arm, of a radioisotope (known as a tracer) which circulates in the blood and is absorbed by the particular organs or bones the doctor wishes to examine.
It may take several seconds to several hours for the tracer to travel through the body and accumulate in the organ being studied. Because of this, the images may be taken soon after the injection or up to a few hours afterwards.
When it comes time for the image to be captured, the ‘camera’ is placed adjacent to the area of interest whilst patients lie down or sit up.
How long does it take?
Examination times vary depending on the study that has been requested. When making an appointment, our staff will advise how long the examination will take.
Is there any special preparation?
The preparation required will vary according to the area of the body to be imaged. Our receptionist will discuss this in detail when making the appointment.
As a general rule, if patients are having a bone scan, they will need to be available at two separate times on the same day, about two to three hours apart.
Locations where we offer Nuclear Medicine:
Carins Private Hospital
Mater Private Hospital - Pimlico