What is Nuclear Medicine?
NM Imaging is a safe process that uses small amounts of radioactive materials
to provide specific and detailed information on diagnosing of the medical
problems related to the organ in the body.
At MMCSC we perform diagnostic procedures in Nuclear Medicine by using
very small amounts of radioactive material which is very safe for our
patients. The amount of radiation that a person receives during the nuclear
imaging procedure is less than the amount of radiation received from a
diagnostic X-ray. The radioactive material compound used as a tracer is
specifically designed to be attracted to the specific organ being tested.
Most tracers are passed quickly from the body through normal bodily functions.
We encourage our patients to drink plenty of water or liquids after an
examination that will help eliminate the tracer more quickly.
Nuclear Medicine imaging uses a combination of small amounts of radioactive-tracer
and very sensitive camera technology to provide detail information on
an organ specific areas in the body. The radioactive- tracer enables the
Radiologist to detect and diagnose the disease at the very early stage
of the development.
Most nuclear medicine tests require no special preparation. If preparation
is required, patients are notified prior to the test by our schedulers.
How long will the scan take?
Depending on the type of exam time will vary and patients may be required
to return for additional images. This information will be explained to
the patient during the scheduling prior to the test.
What to expect during the exam:
The specialized NM technologist will explain the exam to the patient prior
to starting the exam. Depending on the part of the body to be imaged the
patient will receive either an intravenous injection or swallow a capsule.
The waiting period ranges from 20 minutes to three hours as this compound
travels through the body. When you are ready for the procedure the technologist
will ask you to lie on an examination table and get comfortable with a
camera placed above you. Warm blankets are always offered and most patients
will nod off while the scan is being performed. We also offer a varied
selection of CD’s that you may choose to listen to while you are
on the table.
What the patient should tell their doctor:
Patients should inform their doctor if they are pregnant or nursing their
child. Their physician may recommend a different type of diagnostic test.
What we offer in NM imaging at MMCSC:
There are different types of test available some of which include:
- Bone scans to evaluate orthopedic injuries, fractures, tumors or unexplained
- Heart scans to identify blood flow function to the heart muscle or determine
existence or extent of damage to the heart after a heart attack.
- Thyroid uptake scans to show structure and determine the function of the
- Lung scans to evaluate the flow and function of air into and out of the
lungs and detect presence of blood clots.
- Gallbladder (Hepatobiliary) scans to evaluate both liver and gallbladder
function. This test can also determine the presence of gallstones that
can cause obstruction.
Getting your results:
Your Nuclear Medicine images will be analyzed by a radiologist, a physician
who specializes in NM testing. The radiologist will send a signed report
which includes an interpretation of the image to your primary physician.
Your physician will receive your results soon after. At MMCSC we also
offer our patients a free copy of their exam on CD to share with their
Our Team of Specialists:
Our board certified Radiologists are specially trained to use radioactive
material, diagnose and interpret the images.
The NM technologists are specially trained in the theory and practice of
nuclear medicine procedures and administer the tracer and operate the
equipment used in the test. The technologists are board certified by the
Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The MMCSC Department physicist monitors the dosage in accordance to both
State and Federal Laws. The department of NM is fully accredited by the
NJ Environmental Protection Radiation Safety Department.