Nuclear Medicine

    Service performed at: Lennon Rd-Flint

    What is Nuclear Medicine?

    Nuclear medicine is a radiological subspecialty that uses small amounts of radioactive material for diagnostic imaging, as well as for treatment of certain conditions. It is one of the medical imaging methods that allow radiologists to view functioning physiological processes over time, rather than simply what an area of the body looks like at a specific moment.

    For diagnosis, your physician may order nuclear medicine imaging for such purposes as evaluating heart, circulatory, or kidney function; finding blockages in the gall bladder; looking for fractured bones; finding infections; diagnosing thyroid problems; diagnosing cancer; or identifying areas of internal bleeding.

    Nuclear medicine is also sometimes used in the treatment of certain disorders, such as destroying cancer cells in the thyroid with controlled doses of radiation.

    Common Nuclear Medicine Procedures and Preparation

    Bone scans can evaluate orthopedic injuries, fractures, infections, tumors, spine/facet joint degenerative changes, reflex sympathetic dystrophy or unexplained bone pain. There is no special prep for this exam. It requires two visits. The first will be approximately 30 minutes for the injection. Then you will return 3–4 hours later for delayed images that take about 30 minutes.

    Renal imaging can evaluate kidney function, check for ureteral obstruction, and evaluate regional scarring from old infections or chronic obstruction. It can also be used to evaluate renal artery stenosis as a cause for hypertension. (If this is wy your doctor ordered the test, it may require an additional day of imaging). The test and preparation vary, depending on why your test has been ordered. Please follow the instructions your doctor has given you and contact us with any questions. These exams 60 minutes to complete, depending on the function of your kidneys.

    Gastric Emptying Imaging can evaluate gastric emptying time and gastroesophageal reflux. This exam requires that you have nothing to eat or drink after midnight. It takes 4 hours to complete. If you have an allergy to eggs, please contact our office.

    Hepatobiliary imaging (HIDA) can evaluate the liver and gallbladder function/contractility. These exams require that you have nothing to eat or drink for at least four hours before the test and take no pain medications. It takes approximately 2 to 4 hours to complete.

    Endocrine system imaging can be used to evaluate the structure and function of the thyroid gland. It can be used for tumor localization, as well as for parathyroid adenoma detection. The prep varies, depending on which exam your doctor has ordered. Please follow the instruction your doctor has given you, or contact us with any questions. A thyroid uptake exam is a two-day test with one 30-minute appointment on each day. This test requires you to be off certain thyroid medication for four to six weeks before the test can be done. Contact our office with questions.

    For parathyroid imaging, there are two appointments on the same day. The first appointment is 30 minutes, the second appointment is two hours from the first appointment and is 2 hours long.

    Radioiodine treatment of thyroid disease. The treatment requires a consultation office visit with a radiologist before treatment will be given, which lasts approximately 30 minutes. You will return on another day for a very short visit for the actual treatment.


    RadiologyInfo.org: General Nuclear Medicine