Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine uses small amounts of radio-pharmaceutical that is injected and then used to provide an image of an organ system or a specific part of the body. Imaging is performed with a special camera known as a gamma camera. After the injection, imaging is sometimes performed immediately. Other studies require delayed imaging after a few hours or even overnight. You will be instructed about the specifics during the imaging process itself. Depending on your exam, you may require some preparation. You may have already received prep instructions (a prep sheet or a text message). If you have any questions, you may talk to a central booking agent at (780) 669-2222, or toll-free at 1-866-771-9446.

Nuclear Medicine Questions

Nuclear medicine is effective at allowing radiologists to look at your internal organs and how they are working. It is used to diagnose disease and is especially helpful in assessing heart, brain, kidney, lung, thyroid function, and Tumor location and progression before and after treatment has occurred.

A radiotracer is administered through an injection, or by inhalation. Radiotracers give off gamma rays that can be detected by special cameras. Our nuclear medicine experts analyze the images and send a report to the doctor who ordered the test.

In general, side effects from a nuclear medicine exam are very rare and few people experience them. Although allergic reactions can occur, they are also extremely rare. Even though adverse reactions are usually mild, pass quickly, and need little or no medical treatment, let our nuclear medicine personnel know if you have experienced any side effects during a previous procedure.

Nuclear medicine procedures are very safe. Our expert radiologist team selects the radiation dose to ensure the minimum radiation exposure and maximum accuracy. Generally speaking, you are exposed to about as much radiation as with an X-ray.

The length of your nuclear medicine exam can vary dramatically based on many factors. It will depend on what is ordered by your doctor, and the part of your body that is examined. Nuclear Medicine exams have a wide variation of scan times ranging from a few minutes to several hours or even a few days.

After your procedure is complete, the radiologist will send the results to your referring physician within 24 hours.

Generally speaking, there is no risk in exposing others to harmful amounts of radioactivity from diagnostic nuclear medicine exams. However, patients undergoing nuclear medicine procedures will have specific guidelines to follow.

Upon booking a nuclear medicine exam, you will receive specific instructions based on the type of scan you are receiving. Details and instructions such as food and drink restrictions, medicine directions, or directions about whether you need to have a full or empty bladder could be required of you. Additionally, you should always let your doctor or radiologist know if you are pregnant or could be pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding.

If you are looking for more information about preparing for your nuclear medicine exam, take a look at our exam preparation page.

Planning your next appointment? Learn more about nuclear medicine exam preparation and find the clinic most convenient for you