Nuclear Medicine

What is Nuclear Medicine?

Nuclear medicine is a type of medical imaging that uses small amounts of radioactive material (called tracers) to help diagnose and/or treat a variety of conditions or diseases. Nuclear medicine scans give doctors important information about how various parts of the body are working. The technologist who will perform your test has had special training and is board certified in the field of nuclear medicine. The technologist works under the supervision of a radiologist to help ensure the most accurate results from your testing.

In addition to routine nuclear medicine procedures, Deaconess Clinic Downtown also offers I-131 therapeutic treatments for thyroid cancer and ProstaScint injections for prostate cancer. Midwest Radiology also collaborates with the Chancellor Center to provide a medication called Xofigo, which assists patients with prostate cancer with metastases. 

What Will the Procedure Be Like?

You will be given a small amount of radioactive material (called a tracer). This tracer is usually injected, swallowed or inhaled, depending on the exam ordered. Once the tracer has traveled through your body, you’ll be placed on a table. There is a large camera that will rotate over you and take special types of pictures. For some exams, you may be asked to eat and/or drink and then return a few hours later. This allows the tracer to move into the right area for the best pictures. A Board Certified radiologist or an internal medicine doctor who is certified in nuclear medicine will review your images and your history so that he may provide the necessary information to your doctor. The doctor who ordered the test for you will receive your test results in about 24 hours. Your doctor will discuss what your test results mean for you.

Are there Concerns with These Tests?

Don’t let the words “nuclear” or “radioactivity” scare you. These tests are designed to expose you to the least amount of radiation possible. The tracers used during the tests are prepared with exceptional care by a radiopharmacist and technologist with special training for this particular material. The technologist who will perform your test also has special training and is Board Certified in radionuclides. If you have any questions about your test, please ask the nuclear medicine technologist.

Contact Us

Questions about your upcoming procedure? Contact your primary physician or call the Radiology front desk at 812-450-3471.