What Is Nuclear Medicine?

Nuclear Medicine began approximately 50 years ago and is an excellent diagnostic tool that shows not only the anatomy of an organ or body part, but the function of the organ as well.

This exam is used mainly to allow evaluation of organs and regions within organs that cannot be seen or tested on conventional X-Ray images.  A trace amount of radioactive material is introduced into the patient and is then detected by a machine called a gamma camera.

Nuclear Medicine is an integral part of patient care and is extremely valuable in the early diagnosis of numerous medical conditions.

The functional information provided by Nuclear Medicine examinations is very unique and for many diseases, Nuclear Medicine studies yield the most useful information needed to make a diagnosis.


Further Information

ALERT

You must inform the technologist if you are, or think you might be, pregnant.

Most patients should be well hydrated prior to exam.

Most studies require a patient to not eat or drink prior to the exam.

Each Nuclear Medicine procedure has very specific preparations - please check with our Nuclear Medicine department for additional information.

Overview

Nuclear Medicine Studies

With the aid of a computer, images are captured based on the detection of energy emitted from a radioactive substance previously given to the patient orally or intravenously. Possible sites/reasons for a Nuclear Medicine procedure may be:
 

  • Evaluate bones for tumor or trauma/fractures
  • Determine the presence or spread of cancer
  • Analyze kidney function
  • Image blood flow and function of various organs
  • Evaluate function of liver and gallbladder
  • Test for various blood disorders
  • Test blood flow to the lungs, specifically to identify blockage of flow from blood clots
  • Evaluate blood flow and function of the heart
  • Measure emptying of the stomach
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What to Expect

Exam Preparation

Each Nuclear Medicine procedure has very specific preparations. 

Our scheduling department will advise you if an empty stomach may be necessary for your exam.

Once the radioactive substance is given (either by IV or orally), the imaging portion of the study may be performed immediately, a few hours later or even several days after the isotope is administered.

During the Exam

Most Nuclear Medicine procedures require you to lie on a scanning table and remain as still as possible while the images are being obtained.

The technologist will raise, lower and move the exam table in and out of the scanner opening in order to take pictures of the body, although it does not touch the patient.

The camera detects gamma rays emitted from the patient and sends the digitized images to a computer for reconstruction.

After the Exam

A Board Certified Radiologist will interpret your Nuclear Medicine scan and provide a formal report as your permanent record.

The formal exam results will be sent to your referring healthcare provider, who will in turn discuss the results with you.

At this time, your healthcare provider may recommend further testing, or suggest a treatment plan for your condition. Patients usually resume normal diet and activities immediately after the exam.

Most of the low-level radiopharmaceutical passes out of your body through natural urine or stool processes.

Feel free to contact our facility or check with your healthcare provider for additional information.

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Locations

Nuclear Medicine Exams are available at these locations:

PENRAD @ Audubon Medical Campus
3050 N. Circle Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80909

PENRAD @ Sisters Grove Pavilion
6011 Woodmen Road, #10
Colorado Springs, CO 80923

To request an appointment, click here or call (719) 785-9000

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PET/CT Scan

Oncology, Neurology, Cardiology

Nuclear Medicine

Bone Scans, MUGA

HeartScreen

Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring. No referral required.

Ultrasound

Ultrasounds or Sonograms using high frequency sound waves.

Fluoroscopy

IVP, Barium Enema

X-Ray

Chest X-Ray - Dual Energy Subtraction

Mammography

Full-field digital acquisition

CT Scan

CT 128, Cardiac CTA, Automatic Radiation Dose Reduction

Bone Density

DEXA, Hip & Femur BMD. No referral required.

MRI

High Field – Short Bore Magnets, Breast MRI with CAD, Cardiac MRI