Nuclear Medicine is a sub-specialty of diagnostic medical imaging involving the use of radioisotopes to diagnose and treat disease. Nuclear Medicine can be used to assess all systems of the body.
Nuclear Medicine uses small amounts of radioactive materials 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.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, please notify the staff at the time of making the appointment as the study may need to be postponed.
Things to know
For most Nuclear Medicine scans, a radioactive tracer is injected into a vein (usually in the arm). The body part we’re scanning will depend on how long you will need to be scanned and if you will need to return for more scans, while the tracer moves through your body to the area we need.
We call the Nuclear Medicine scanners Gamma Cameras.
The Gamma Camera looks like a box, with a wide and short doughnut (technical word is gantry) at the back with the bed passing under the camera.
For some scans the bed on which you lay, moves backwards and forwards.
For most scans you will be asked to keep still and breathe normally.
A scan can take between 30 minutes and 2 hours. Some scans, like a Bone Scan, will have a short initial scan and then returning for imaging 2-6 hours later.The Nuclear Medicine Technician will give a return time on the day and you don’t have to wait there during that time.
At Queensland X-Ray we also have specialised SPECT/CT equipment. These low-dose cameras utilise two different imaging techniques to take 3D images of your body part.