A Simple Guide to

Nuclear Medicine

Curious about nuclear medicine and what it entails?

This straightforward guide will walk you through what to expect during your nuclear medicine experience.

Table of Contents

Image credit: South Coast Radiology

Nuclear Medicine?

Nuclear medicine is a specialised medical field that uses a tiny amount of safe radioactive material to take pictures of the inside of your body.

A SPECT scan is a type of nuclear medicine test that uses a radiotracer (a special contrast agent), that is administered through your vein.

Before the Procedure

When you arrive for your nuclear medicine appointment, the healthcare team will guide you.

Depending on the type of scan, you might need to prepare in specific ways, such as fasting or avoiding certain medications.

They’ll explain everything you need to know.

During the Procedure

You’ll receive a small injection of a radioactive material, called a tracer.

  • This tracer travels through your body and collects in the area being examined.
  • A special camera then takes pictures that show how the tracer is moving or being used by your body.

After the Procedure

Once the nuclear medicine procedure is done, you can get back to your regular activities.

The radioactive material will naturally leave your body over time, so there’s no need for special precautions.

If you are caring for a small child, or breastfeeding, we may ask you to take some minor precautions.

Results and Next Steps

A doctor will review the images from the nuclear medicine scan and share the findings with you.

They’ll explain what they see and discuss any further steps or treatments if needed.

Patient Safety

Nuclear medicine examinations are considered very safe with almost no reported adverse reactions.

Nuclear Medicine studies require very small doses of gamma radiation and are only performed where the benefits of the examination are deemed to outweigh any potential risks.

If you are worried or concerned about having a Nuclear Medicine study, you should discuss this with your referring doctor or medical specialist before coming for your examination.

If you think you may be pregnant, please inform our Nuclear Medicine team before your examination.

In Summary

Nuclear medicine offers a unique insight into your body’s functions.

With this guide, you’re ready for your nuclear medicine appointment.

Disclaimer: Please note, if you have any questions or reservations about an upcoming radiology scan, it is always recommended to consult with your healthcare provider, who can address your concerns directly. This is general information, not tailored to a specific individual. Please read our Terms and Conditions.