Nuclear Medicine and Bone Densitometry

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Nuclear Medicine

         What is Nuclear Medicine?

         Are there any side-effects?

         What are some common imaging procedures?

         What does the Camera look like?

         When can I get the results?

 

What is Nuclear Medicine?

Nuclear Medicine is a diagnostic imaging modality which can be used to show the functions of body organs, as well as its anatomy. This provides valuable diagnostic capabilities as well as therapeutic applications to patients. Nuclear Medicine involves very small amounts of radioactive substances, or tracers that are attracted to specific organs in the body in order to diagnose or treat symptoms. Generally, the radiation to the patient is similar to that resulting from a standard x-ray examination.

Are there any side-effects?
There are no documented side-effects in relation to nuclear medicine studies. None of the injections contain iodine, so patients with iodine allergies are able to have a nuclear medicine scan without any ill effects.

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What are some common imaging procedures?
Nuclear medicine images can assist the physician in diagnosing diseases. The most common types of imaging procedures are:

  • Myocardial Perfusion Scan: Depicts blood supply and function of the heart
  • Bone Scan: Identify fractures, infections, arthritis or tumours
  • Lung Scan: Evaluate for pulmonary embolism
  • Thyroid Scan: Evaluate nodules or overactive thyroid glands
  • Gallium Scan: Localise sites of infection or tumour
  • Kidney Scan: Analyse the function of kidney
  • HIDA Scan: Evaluate gallbladder function
  • Lymphoscintigraphy: To identify lymph nodes for surgical removal
  • Parathyroid Scan: Identify parathyroid adenoma
  • I-131 Therapy: For thyroid overactivity
  • Strontium (or Samarium) Injection: Therapeutic injection to alleviate bone pain

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What does the Camera look like?
During most nuclear medicine examinations, you will lie down on a scanning table. There are two detectors which are able to generate an image, that move over the body in the area of interest. For most examinations you head will not go under the detectors.

Nuclear Medicine Gamma Camera SPECT/CT Camera
Nuclear Medicine Gamma Camera The new SPECT/CT Camera

When can I get the results?
The results will be processed by a Nuclear Medicine Technologist and then be interpreted by the Nuclear Medicine Physician. You will be able to take your results with you on the day, or we can send them straight to your referring doctor. If you decide to take the results with you, it is usually only a 20—30 minute wait.

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