Nuclear Medicine Scan in Northern Virginia & Maryland
What is Nuclear Medicine?
Nuclear Medicine is a safe, painless, and cost-effective technique to image the body and treat disease. Nuclear medicine imaging is unique, because it provides doctors with information about both structure and metabolic function. It is a way to gather medical information that would otherwise be unavailable, require surgery, or necessitate more expensive diagnostic tests. Nuclear medicine imaging procedures often identify abnormalities very early in the progress of a disease, long before many medical problems are apparent with other diagnostic tests.
The nuclear medicine test is performed with the introduction very small amounts of radioactive material (radiopharmaceuticals) either by injection, oral ingestion or inhalation. The radiopharmaceuticals are detected by special types of cameras that work with computers to provide very precise pictures about the area of the body being imaged. In treatment, the radiopharmaceuticals go directly to the organ being treated. The amount of radiation in a typical nuclear imaging exam is comparable with that received during a diagnostic x-ray.
These procedures are very safe, and many require no special preparation by the patient.
How do I prepare?
Nuclear medicine scans are noninvasive procedures. Most exams, except for thyroid studies, involve an injection of the isotope through a vein with a needle that is much smaller than those used for taking blood. The injection is not a dye and has no side effects or reactions.
The isotopes travel through the body and a special “gamma camera” is used to detect the isotope and produce medical images. The amount of radiation received is less than having back x-rays taken.
Usually, the patient does not even need to change their clothes and just lies quietly on the imaging table during the procedure. Exam times are generally longer than for routine x-ray studies because we are recording body functions, no just anatomy. Some exams may require more than one visit.
Locations offering Nuclear Medicine
Ready to schedule an appointment?
Please have your physician’s order and insurance card if applicable in hand, and call (877) 504-9729.
Important Note: A written referral order from your physician is absolutely required for the exam to be performed. Please bring the order from your doctor with you.