Nuclear medicine involves the use of very small amounts of radiopharmaceuticals to diagnose disease. The procedures are safe, involve little or no patient discomfort, and do not require the use of anesthesia.
Centrelake Imaging utilizes the most advanced nuclear imaging tools available to help providers diagnose and treat a variety of conditions safely and effectively.
How Nuclear Medicine Works
Nuclear medicine imaging involves tracing very small amounts of radioactive materials in the bloodstream. These materials are injected, swallowed, or inhaled, depending on the area needing examination. These “radiotracers” give off gamma rays and are absorbed by specific bones, organs, and tissues. The technologist uses a special camera and a computer to track the gamma rays and create images of internal body structures, function, and physiology. This provides highly unique information that a provider would be unable to obtain using other imaging options and makes it possible to detect diseases at their very earliest stage.
There are little to no side effects to the radioactive compounds and the tests are completely painless, safe, and non-invasive.
Applications for Nuclear Medicine
Nuclear medicine is used primarily to diagnose diseases and disorders and to assess body or organ function. It has been used in all major systems of the body including the heart, lungs, bones, and brain to assess:
- Blood Clots
- Blood Flow and Function
- Cancer Treatment Response
- Cardiac Function and Health
- Coronary Artery Disease
- Liver and Gallbladder Function
- Lung Function
- Neurological Abnormalities
- Orthopedic Injuries and Infections
- Thyroid Function and Disease
- Transplant Rejection
- Unexplained Bleeding
How should I prepare for this procedure?
Please contact our Scheduling Department for specific preparations for your study.
What can I expect during this procedure?
Although imaging time can vary, the exam generally takes 20 to 45 minutes. A radiopharmaceutical, known as a tracer, is usually administered either intravenously or by mouth. What radiopharmaceutical is used and when is dependent upon the type of exam you’re having. For most nuclear scans, you will lie down on a table and a nuclear imaging camera will be used to capture the image of the area being examined. The camera is either suspended over or below the exam table or in a large donut-shaped machine similar to a CT scanner. While the images are being obtained, you must remain as still as possible. Most of the radioactivity is expelled out of your body in urine or stool. The rest simply disappears over time.
What will I experience during the procedure?
Although usually done with a small needle, some patients experience some minor discomfort from the intravenous injection or IV. Also, lying still on the examining table may be uncomfortable for some patients. You will hear low-level clicking or buzzing noises from the machine.
For more information on this topic, please visit www.radiologyinfo.org.
Nuclear Medicine Imaging at Centrelake Imaging
Centrelake Imaging nuclear medicine imaging systems are all-purpose, dual-head gamma camera. Our advanced scanners uniquely provide information about both the structure and function of virtually every major organ within the body. This system employs a powerful computer that generates images displaying the radionuclide’s distribution in a patient. With these images, radiologists are able to detect and quantify disorders from physiological abnormalities and blood-flow, to cancer, and determine the best approach to therapy.
Nuclear medicine imaging is available at our Anaheim, Downey, Hemet and Ontario facilities. Both facilities are accredited in Nuclear Medicine by the American College of Radiology (ACR).