Nuclear Medicine in San Antonio, TX
Nuclear medicine involves administering a small dose of a radioactive substance
that is similar to normal substances occurring in the body but is “labeled”
with a tracer that can be imaged by the nuclear medicine camera. This
allows us to visualize how the body is processing normal substances and
allows us to measure these processes or obtain pictures that highlight
areas of abnormal function.
What Is Nuclear Medicine?
Nuclear medicine is a specialized form of radiology. Patients are given
a radioactive substance either by mouth or intravenously that collects
in specific body organs. Then the gamma camera detects the energy being
emitted from that substance and an image can then be captured.
Nuclear Medicine scans are typically painless and patients are exposed
to no more radiation than in a common X-ray.
Images from nuclear medicine scans can assist the physician in diagnosing
many conditions and disease. Assessing organ function can help physicians
to detect infections, tumors, and other disorders.
How Should I Prepare for this Procedure?
Typically there is no special preparation for a nuclear medicine test.
Although, your physician may ask that you miss a meal before your test
if your procedure requires imaging of the stomach or gallbladder. Also,
you may be directed to drink plenty of water for tests of the bones and kidneys.
How is this Procedure Performed?
The radioactive substance is a medicine called a radiopharmaceutical. The
type of radiopharmaceutical that will be used is determined by the organ
system of the body that is being evaluated. This is because some compounds
collect in certain organs better than others. The length of time that
it takes for the dye to travel to the desired organ can vary greatly depending
on the type of scan. It can take as much as several days and as little
as a few seconds.
A scan can generally take anywhere from 20-45 minutes. The patient must
remain as still as possible while the images are being taken in order
to get the clearest images possible. A series of images may be ordered
to show how an organ functions over a period of time in order to get the
most information possible.
What Will I Experience During My Procedure?
Aside from mild discomfort from the injection of the radiopharmaceutical
in those tests that require it, nuclear medicine exams are painless. All
that is required is that the patient remain still while the pictures are
The small amount of radioactivity will usually be eliminated through the
urine or stool. Any remaining radioactive material will disappear over
the next few hours to few days.
Nuclear Medicine Services
- Bone Scan
- Liver SPECT
- Liver Spleen Scan
- Cardiac MUGA Scan
- Meckel's Scan
- GI Bleed
- Gastric Emptying
- Gallium Scan
- Indium Scan
- Lung Scan
- Shunt Evaluation
- Quantitative Evaluation
- Whole Body Thyroid
- Thyroid Uptake & Scan
- Thyroid Scan Only
- Parathyroid Scan
- Renal Scan
- Sentinel Node Localization
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