Nuclear Medicine uses small amounts of radioactive materials called radiotracers that are typically injected into the bloodstream, inhaled or swallowed. The radiotracer travels through the area being examined and gives off energy in the form of gamma rays which are detected by a special camera and a computer to create images of the inside of your body. Nuclear Medicine scans are used to diagnose and sometimes treat disease.
Is it safe?
- Yes. The amount of radioactivity given in a Nuclear Medicine procedure is very similar to that of a CT scan.
- If you are pregnant or think you might be, please consult with your Doctor.
- If you are breastfeeding, please contact the Nuclear Medicine department prior to your arrival.
What can I expect?
- You may be asked to change into hospital attire.
- Other than the discomfort of a needle stick, Nuclear Medicine scans are painless.
- There is a large time range for Nuclear Medicine scans, from hours to days, please feel free to ask when you receive your booking how long you can expect for your test.
Will it make me radioactive?
- Yes. Although the amount of radioactivity is small, you will be considered to be radioactive. The radioactivity naturally decays (becomes less over time), and is also excreted from the body, depending on which radiotracer is given.
- If you plan on entering an airport or crossing a border, be sure to let the Technologist know.
Diabetic Devices: Diabetic devices including glucose sensors and insulin pumps can be damaged by X-rays and radiation. Glucose sensors and insulin pumps must be removed immediately prior to your test. You will need to consult with the manufacturer of your device to find out when you can reattach your pump or insert a new glucose sensor.
Nuclear Medicine scans are by pre-booked appointment only. Your prep for the scan will depend on the body part that is being imaged. You will receive detailed instructions with your booking. Do you know where we are located within the hospital?