Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine (NM) is a mechanism used to diagnose and treat many different types of diseases.  NM uses very small amounts of radioactive compounds to diagnose and treat diseases by using a special camera to take pictures of the body after the compounds have been injected.  The images show the activity and function of tissues and organs.

To diagnose disease, the compounds are detected by special cameras that work with computers to provide very precise pictures about the area of the body being imaged.  To treat disease, the compounds are injected directly into the organ being treated.

The amount of radiation in a general nuclear imaging procedure is comparable to that received during an x-ray, and the amount received in a typical treatment procedure is kept within safe limits.

Each type of tissue that may be scanned (including bones, organs, glands, and blood vessels) uses a different radioactive compound as a tracer.  The tracer remains in the body temporarily before it is passed in the urine or stool (feces).

Safety in Imaging
At Lost Rivers Medical Center, our goal is to use the least amount of radiation (X-ray energy) needed to produce quality images.  We work hard to make sure our equipment is safe and appropriate for your test.  Our imaging teams have regular training on radiation safety.  We communicate with doctors to help them choose imaging tests wisely.

How should I prepare?
Various nuclear medicine procedures have different preparations, and therefore, will require specific instructions.  You may be instructed not to consume food or drink for at least 4 hours prior to your appointment.  If you are having a renal (kidney) function test, plan to drink plenty of water in advance of the procedure.  Wear loose, comfortable clothing.  Casual attire without zippers, buttons, grommets or any metal is preferred.  If you are pregnant or nursing, you must notify your doctor and technologist.
Please review your doctor’s order prior to your test for specific preparations, and consult with them if you have any questions.

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