Nuclear Medicine is the practice of placing minute amounts of a radioactive isotope into the patient’s body, before conducting scans using specialist equipment. This method can supply additional information for diagnosis that other tests cannot provide.
Nuclear Medicine studies show physiological change (changes in the way the body is functioning), whereas other imaging techniques show anatomical change (changes in size, shape, form etc). These tests are routine, safe and simple, and have no side-effects, as the amount of radioactive material used is so tiny. This material is usually given via an IV injection, although it can also be swallowed, or inhaled. The material has no effect on your body, you will not feel “funny” or sleepy, and will be able to go about your normal activities.
We have numerous different Nuclear Medicine tests available and each one follows a separate protocol. Your radiographer will explain your test procedure before getting started. Generally you will be given a small injection in your arm, similar to a blood test, and images are taken either immediately or there is a time interval from 20 minutes to 4 hours, depending on the test requested. The images can take from ½ hour to 2 hours to complete, and are taken using a special gamma-sensitive camera. For the majority of the tests, no special preparation is required but there are exceptions and these will be explained to you at the time of booking the appointment
All procedures are carried out by radiographers qualified in Nuclear Medicine, who undertake a wide range of Nuclear Medicine studies.
Patients are referred from GPs and Consultants for a broad range of conditions. A signed request form is required prior to undertaking the procedure. A team of Radiologists who specialise in Nuclear Medicine report the images daily. The reports are typed and sent out with images to the referring Consultant.
If you require a Nuclear Medicine test, your GP or consultant will refer you to CCL, where you will be required to sign a permission form prior to undergoing the procedure. The results are reported by a team of radiologists who specialise in Nuclear Medicine, and are then typed up and sent to the referring consultant or GP, with accompanying images.
Find out more about our Nuclear Medicine service here: