What is nuclear medicine?
A nuclear medicine study will look at your organ function by using small amounts of radioactive materials called ‘tracers’. The tracer is generally injected into the blood stream through your vein however it may be given in a different method by swallowing or inhaling.
The tracer will make the body slightly radioactive for a short time, allowing a nuclear medicine camera to pick up the radiation. Pictures will be taken of the inside your body showing the nuclear medicine technician and nuclear medicine radiologist how your body is functioning.
How should I prepare for a nuclear medicine scan?
Generally there is no preparation for a nuclear medicine scan, however when you make your appointment our staff will discuss any preparation with you according to your referral from your doctor. If you are pregnant or breast- feeding please let our staff know.If you are taking any medication please make our staff aware because certain drugs could alter results of the test and you may need to stop taking them for a few days prior to your scan.
Remember to bring any relevant previous x-rays or scans with you.
On the day of your appointment
Epworth Medical Imaging’s friendly staff will greet you upon arrival and take your referral form. A nuclear medicine technologist will then collect you from reception and in most cases you will not be asked to change into a gown.
A small injection of tracer, will be given to you (usually an injection in your arm). The tracer circulates very quickly in the blood and is absorbed by the particular organs or bones to be examined.
Depending on the procedure, our nuclear medicine technician will advise you on wait times and explain what will happen next. You will be asked to lie on the camera bed and a gamma camera will be placed near your body next to the organ of interest – this process is not painful.
The timing of each examination depends on the test, for example a thyroid gland will be scanned almost immediately after the injection. However for a bone scan you will be asked to return approximately 3 hours after the injection.
After your examination please report to reception where you will be presented with hardcopy films or a CD. The radiologist will produce a report which will be sent directly to your GP or specialist – please contact your GP or specialist in order to discuss results.
Epworth Medical Imaging accepts cash, cheque, EFTFOS, MasterCard and Visa for payment on the day. If you have provided your bank details to Medicare, we can lodge Medicare claims electronically so as your Medicare rebate is direct deposited into your bank account.
Pensioners and healthcare card-holders will be bulked billed for all items covered under the Medicare schedule, although some surgical procedures and scans may incur a cost, as they are not covered under Medicare. Our staff will inform you of costs prior to your examination. Please have your Medicare card ready to present to reception.