Creating detailed images to diagnose illness and injuries
Nuclear medicine tests are common and safe for diagnosing illnesses. These tests can help find cancer, check organ health and detect fractures.
What happens during a nuclear medicine test?
During a nuclear medicine test, small amounts of radioactive substances, called radiopharmaceuticals, are given by mouth or injection. These, along with imaging technology (such as gamma cameras), are used to create images of organs and areas not clearly seen using a regular X-ray.
What are the risks?
Nuclear medicine is safe. Only a small amount of radioactive material is used, and it doesn't stay in the body for long. To help flush out the material, drink a lot of water after your scan. If you're pregnant or breastfeeding, let your provider know. They can decide if nuclear medicine is suitable for you.
What is nuclear medicine used to diagnose?
Nuclear medicine is used to diagnose a variety of diseases, including:
- Heart disease
- Abnormalities in the organs or bones (including the brain, lungs, kidneys or thyroid)
- Gastrointestinal disorders