Your healthcare provider may have recommended nuclear medicine imaging to diagnose or treat a health problem; here’s what you should know.
Nuclear medicine is a specialized type of imaging that uses small amounts of radioactive materials to diagnose or treat various diseases.
Nuclear medicine helps doctors diagnose medical conditions by allowing them to see how organs or tissue are functioning. For most diagnostic procedures, a tracer that contains radioactive material is injected, swallowed, or inhaled. Your radiologist or healthcare provider will then use a radiation detector to see how much of the tracer has been absorbed or how it reacts in the organ or tissue. The imaging produced from this process will be interpreted by your healthcare provider to determine a diagnosis.
Doctors can also use nuclear medicine as a form of treatment. It is effective in targeting and destroying damaged or diseased organs or tissue. When used in treatment, the tracer targets a harmful organ or tissue, and radioactivity damages or stops the growth of cells.
Our technologists and radiologists are highly trained in using the latest advancements in nuclear medicine. Some of the technology utilized by our team include state-of-the-art diagnostic gamma cameras, thyroid uptake probes, and the Venti-Scan IV, Radioaerosol Delivery System.
Jamaica Hospital is designated as a Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology in all areas of imaging including MRI, CT scan, mammography, nuclear medicine, and ultrasound. This designation demonstrates our hospital’s commitment to providing the highest quality, and safest imaging services.
What To Expect
Before the procedure:
- You may receive a tracer either through an injection, inhalation or by swallowing a pill or substance.
- You may need to wait for the tracer to travel through your body to the tissue or organ being diagnosed or treated.
During the procedure:
- You may be asked to lie down on a table or walk on a treadmill.
- A camera that detects radiation will be placed over your body to collect information on how the tracer is acting in an organ or tissue.
After the procedure:
- The radiologist and your healthcare provider will use the information received from your procedure to see how an organ or tissue is functioning.
- The radioactive material from the tracer will pass out of your body in a few hours to a few days, depending on the type of tracer and test you receive.
When you go home:
- After your procedure, your body is slightly radioactive (giving off radiation). This wears off over time.
- Your healthcare provider may give special instructions such as washing your hands frequently or drinking a lot of water to help reduce any small amounts of radiation you give off and reduce the risk of exposure to others. Patients are always instructed, if possible, to keep about 6 feet away for one or two days from others especially children and women who are pregnant.
Patients are encouraged to speak with their healthcare provider to learn more about nuclear medicine procedures recommended for their health. Our knowledgeable and skillful team will guide you through the process, and always put your safety and comfort first.
To schedule an appointment with our department, please call 718-206-6039. Our hours of operation are Monday to Friday, 7:00 am to 6:00 pm.