Nuclear imaging is an innovative subspecialty of diagnostic radiology that provides information that often ca not be obtained using other imaging procedures, enabling doctors to identify disease in its earliest stages.
In a nuclear imaging exam, you are given a small amount of radioactive dye (called a tracer). Different tracers are designed to travel to a specific body organ or system, where it emits energy as gamma rays. A special camera detects these rays and works with a computer to produce images and measurements of the organs and tissues.
The largest amount of the tracer is taken up in areas of the body where cells and tissues are repairing themselves most actively—suggesting the presence of disease or injury, and helping doctors determine how well certain organs are functioning.
Emerson Hospital uses today’s most advanced nuclear medicine techniques and procedures, which can often eliminate the need for more invasive diagnostic tests. Nuclear Imaging services are available at the Yeatts Radiology Center on our main campus in Concord.
Why nuclear imaging is performed
Nuclear imaging may be used to:
- Evaluate bones for metastatic cancer
- Stage cancer
- Diagnose and evaluate heart disease
- Investigate abnormalities in the brain when patients have symptoms such as seizures or memory loss
- Detect early onset of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s
- Evaluate for brain abnormalities in patients with suspected movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease
- Identify abnormal gallbladder function
- Measure thyroid and parathyroid function
- Evaluate kidney function
What nuclear imaging involves
You will receive specific instructions based on the type of nuclear imaging exam you are undergoing, but here is a general overview:
When you have a nuclear imaging procedure, you are first given a small amount of a radioactive tracer. This is administered either intravenously or orally.
After the tracer is administered, your procedure may take place immediately or up to several hours or days later, depending on how long it takes for the tracer to travel through your body and accumulate in the targeted site.
During a nuclear imaging exam, you will lie down on a scanning table and remain very still while the images are being obtained. Most procedures take 20 to 45 minutes.
Through the natural process of radioactive decay, the small amount of tracer in your body will dissipate over the first 24 hours following the test and pass out of your body through your urine or stool.
To obtain nuclear imaging test results
By law, this requires a signed medical records release form and photo identification. To make a request, please call:
Schedule an appointment
To schedule an appointment for a nuclear imaging test, please call 978-287-3003.