New Millennium Medical Imaging, P.C. (718) 321-7100

Nuclear Medicine scans are very useful to diagnose abnormalities of the heart, bone, gallbladder, lungs, thyroid and other major organs. These scans look at the way organs function, as opposed to most x-rays which examine the body's structure. These scans involve injecting, swallowing or inhaling very small amounts of radioactive drugs called radiopharmaceuticals. The radiopharmaceutical selected for your scan is dependent on the organ being imaged. As the radiopharmaceutical travels to the area being examined, a special camera detects the photons released by this radioactive material and maps its distribution. These nuclear medicine cameras are connected to computers that process this information and then produce pictures for the radiologist to interpret. Within one-to-two days, all traces of the radiopharmaceutical disappear from the body. These procedures are safe and painless, and the amount of radiation from a nuclear medicine exam is comparable to that of an x-ray. Finally, there are no common side effects in nuclear medicine, and you will not feel dizzy, nauseous, sleepy or hot.

How Do I Prepare For The Nuclear Procedure?

Most nuclear medicine exams require no preparation. But if one is needed, your physician will inform you before your exam. You will not need to stop taking most medications before your exam, but your physician may advise you to stop taking medications that may affect the exam. If you need pain medications, you may continue taking them.
We will ask you to remove metal objects like belt buckles, coins and keys. A technologist will discuss your procedure with you, answer your questions and take other needed information.

Your Nuclear Medicine Exam

In the gamma camera room, you will lie on a table where a technologist will administer the radiopharmaceutical-most often by injection- into an arm vein. Depending upon your procedure, you may be under the camera during the injection. For most exams, you must wait for the radioactive material to accumulate in the organ being imaged and waiting times vary from none to several hours. If waiting time permits, you may walk around or even leave the hospital.

What Should I Expect During The Nuclear Procedure?

You will lie on a comfortable imaging table with the camera above and/or below you. It may move very slowly around you or remain stationary depending upon your particular exam. You will be able to speak to the technologist at any time and if you wish, a friend or family member may remain with you in the imaging room. You will be asked to remain perfectly still for several minutes at a time while the image is recorded. Occasionally, you may be asked to stay motionless for up to 15 minutes.

After Your Exam

After your exam, you will be asked to wait 10 to 15 minutes while the scans are filmed and shown to the radiologist. As soon as the scans have been reviewed for clarity, you may go home. If more scans are needed, they will be taken at this time. Unless advised otherwise by your physician, you may resume your normal diet and activities immediately.

Types of Nuclear Medicine Exams

Bone scans: Used to detect arthritis, fractures, sports injuries, infections, tumors and causes of unexplained bone pain.

Bone-Indium Scan: Uses patient's own white blood cells to look for areas of infected bone.

H.I.D.A (Gallbladder) Scan: Used to see how well the gallbladder is functioning.

Myocardial Perfusion scan (Heart Stress Test): Used to look for signs of heart disease and to see how well the heart is functioning.

Renal Imaging: Used to look for areas of blockage in the urinary tract and to see how well the kidneys are functioning.

Thyroid Scan: Used to look for over or under function of the gland and to evaluate nodules (lumps).