What is Nuclear Medicine (NM)?
Nuclear Medicine is divided into two main categories, Nuclear Imaging and Nuclear Cardiology.
What is Nuclear Imaging?
Nuclear imaging captures actual metabolic activity within the organ or part of the body to be studied after a radioactive isotope, or tracer has been injected into the body. The radioactive isotope decays, resulting in the emission of invisible gamma rays.
What is Nuclear Cardiology?
Nuclear cardiology is a method of accessing how well your heart is working by evaluating segments of the heart and blood vessels with decreased or insufficient blood flow. This will help your doctor determine if you are at risk for a heart attack, or may have had one.
What is Nuclear Scan?
During a typical Nuclear Scan the patient lies on a table and is positioned under a large camera. The camera tube rotates around the patient and images are acquired on the large receptor device located under you. These images are then viewed on a computer monitor. The length of the exam will depend upon the area to be scanned and specific information needed by your doctors and can last from 30 minutes to 3 hours.
- Cardiac Stress Tests
- Bone Scans
- Lung (Pulmonary) Scans
- Hepatobiliary(HIDA) Scans
- Gastrointestinal Scans
- Thyroid Scans
- Renal Scans
- Other Miscellaneous Testing
What to Expect During Your Exam
When you arrive in the department you may be asked to fill out a short patient screening form.
Once inside the Nuclear Medicine Department the technologist will ask you various questions about your symptoms and explain the exam to you.
The actual nuclear scan is a painless non-invasive test and may last from 30 minutes to 3 hours depending on the type of exam. Ask your physician, or call Centralized Scheduling at 231-845-2357 to ask how long a specific procedure will take.
The technologist will place you in an optimal position on a flat padded table. During a typical Nuclear Scan the patient lies on a table and is positioned under a large camera.
The camera tube rotates around the patient and images are acquired on the large receptor device located under you. These images are then viewed on a computer monitor.
Most Nuclear Scans will require the technologist to administer a radioactive tracer through an IV in your arm. The tracer will naturally be eliminated from your body in a few hours.
After the Test is Completed
Once the technologist has completed all technical steps necessary to interpret your scan, it will be sent electronically to the radiologist for interpretation. Following radiologist dictation, a medical transcriptionist will type a report and send it to your physician. The post exam processes; exam dictation, report transcription, radiologist review of report and signature, usually takes 2-3 business days.
Your physician does have several options at his or her disposal to obtain immediate results for critical or emergent clinical situations.