Nuclear Medicine is a specialized area of radiology that uses very small amounts of radioactive materials to examine organ function and structure. Nuclear Medicine imaging is a combination of many different disciplines, including chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer technology and medicine.
This branch of radiology is often used to help diagnose and treat abnormalities very early in the progression of a disease, such as thyroid cancer. Because x-rays pass through soft tissue (such as intestines, muscles and blood vessels), these tissues are difficult to visualize on a standard x-ray unless a contrast agent (dye) is used to cause the tissue to be seen more clearly. Nuclear imaging enables visualization of organ and tissue structure as well as their function. Diagnostic x-rays are used primarily to study anatomy, while nuclear imaging is used to study organ and tissue function.
What are some common uses of the procedure?
Nuclear Medicine examinations are among the safest diagnostic procedures available and are utilized to evaluate many types of disease and disorders of the human body.
Nuclear Medicine procedures are performed to evaluate:
- Kidney/Urinary function
- Thyroid function
- Brain/Spinal Cord function
- Blood flow and function of the heart
- Respiration or blow-flow problems in the lungs
- Blockage in the gallbladder
- Fracture, infection, arthritis or tumor in bones
- Presence or spread of cancer
- Presence or location of infection
Will I be exposed to radiation?
You will be exposed to a low dose of radiation during your exam. Our technologists are trained to use the least amount of radiation required to produce the desired images.
How will I know the results?
Following your exam, a radiologist specializing in Nuclear Medicine will analyze and interpret the images from your exam and prepare a full report. This report will be sent directly to your physician, who will share the results with you. To request a copy of the report, you may contact your physician’s office or Medical Arts Hospital’s Medical Records Department at 806-872-2183.
How do I schedule an appointment?
When your physician orders a Nuclear Medicine exam for you, the physician’s office will either contact the scheduling center or ask you to make the arrangements. If your physician asks you to make the arrangements, please contact us at 806-872-2183. Please have your physician’s orders available when you call. We will need to know the type of Nuclear Medicine and diagnosis that your physician has indicated for the procedure.
What do I need to bring with me the day of the exam?
You will need to bring the orders your physician gave you, some form of personal identification, and any insurance or Medicare information.