What is nuclear medicine?
A nuclear medicine study looks at organ function using small amounts of radioactive materials called ‘tracers’. The tracer is usually injected into the bloodstream through the vein, but can also be administered nasally or orally.
The tracer makes the body slightly radioactive for a short time, allowing a nuclear medicine camera to detect radiation and to produce internal pictures. These images show a nuclear medicine technician or radiologist how the body is functioning.
How should I prepare for a nuclear medicine scan?
Generally there is no preparation for a nuclear medicine scan, however if your referring doctor has stipulated any requirements these will be discussed when you schedule your appointment.
Please advise our staff if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or taking any medications. Certain drugs could alter the test results so you may need to stop taking them for a few days before your scan.
Please bring any relevant X-rays or scans to your appointment.
On the day of your appointment
Epworth Medical Imaging’s friendly staff will greet you on arrival and take your referral form. A nuclear medicine technologist will then collect you from reception and take you to the nuclear medicine room. For most scans you will not need to change into a gown.
A small injection of tracer will be administered (usually an injection into your arm). The tracer will circulate very quickly and will be absorbed by the organs or bones that are being examined.
Depending on the procedure, our nuclear medicine technician will explain what will happen next. You will be asked to lie on a bed and a gamma camera will be placed alongside your body near 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 but you will be asked to return about three hours after the injection for a bone scan.
After your examination please report to reception where you will be presented with hardcopy films or a CD. The radiologist will produce a report that will be sent directly to your GP or specialist. Please contact your referring doctor to discuss your results.
Epworth Medical Imaging accepts cash, cheque, EFTFOS, MasterCard and Visa for on-the-day payment. If you have provided your bank details to Medicare, claims can be lodged electronically to ensure that your Medicare rebate is deposited directly into your bank account.
Pensioner Concession, Health Care, Commonwealth Seniors Health and Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold cardholders will be bulk-billed for all Medicare-eligible outpatient items. Some surgical procedures and scans that are not covered under the Medicare Benefits Schedule may incur an out-of-pocket cost. Our staff will inform you of costs prior to your examination. Please present your Medicare card and any concession cards to reception on arrival.