Nuclear Medicine

Imaging that shows how your body is functioning

Nuclear Medicine at Anna Jaques Hospital

Nuclear medicine offers a unique type of diagnostic imaging. With most radiology exams, we rely on viewing your anatomy to diagnose disease. But nuclear medicine exams provide insight on biological changes happening inside your body. This form of imaging is possible by introducing radioactive materials (radiopharmaceuticals) into your body. They can help us diagnose, manage, treat and prevent many illnesses.

Often, nuclear imaging can identify problems very early in the course of a disease. This may help you get treatment long before problems become apparent with other diagnostic tests.

Your Safety is Our Top Priority

The nuclear medicine team at Anna Jaques Hospital provides expert imaging care. We carefully perform the most appropriate imaging exam for you. And we’re equally careful when choosing the radiopharmaceutical you receive. We provide you with the lowest radiation dose needed to get accurate results. Generally, that dose is comparable to — and often less than — a diagnostic X-ray.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does nuclear medicine work?

When you’re having a nuclear scan, we introduce a very small amount of radiation into your body. Once your body absorbs it, we use a special type of camera to detect the radiation.

If you’re having a nuclear heart scan, for example, we focus the camera on your heart. If you’re having a nuclear thyroid exam, we focus on your thyroid gland. We’re able to get information about how well these body parts function based on how the radioactive material reacts in your organs or tissues.

Why are nuclear medicine exams performed?

Nuclear medicine scans can help us learn more about many different body systems. Some specific health problems they can help us identify early include:

  • Bone changes
  • Certain types of heart disease
  • Thyroid disease
  • Tumors
How do I prepare for a nuclear medicine exam?

We give you details about how to prepare for the specific exam you’re having.

Be sure to let us know if you’re pregnant or think you might be. You should also inform us if you’re breastfeeding.

Because jewelry may interfere with your exam, it’s best to leave that at home. Things you should bring to your appointment include information about:

  • Allergies
  • Medications you take, including vitamins and supplements
  • Your health history
What should I expect during and after my nuclear medicine exam?

We may give you the radiopharmaceutical by mouth or IV. In some cases, we ask you to inhale it. Then you wait as the material moves through your body. At the appropriate time, we begin taking images. We may ask you to change positions during your test. But generally, you must remain still.

Time needed for the test varies. Most nuclear medicine scans are painless, and once complete, you can resume normal activities unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Drinking plenty of water will help eliminate the radioactive material from your body. We give you instructions on how to avoid exposing others until that time.

When will I receive my X-ray results?

One of our radiologists will interpret your exam and send a report to your doctor, who will get the results to you. They may be available through our patient portal. Overall, this process may take several days.

Make an Appointment

Make an Appointment

To speak with a member of our nuclear medicine team, please call us.