Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear Medicine is a branch of diagnostic imaging that uses trace amounts of radioactive pharmaceuticals to map the function of many organs and body systems. Common areas are the heart, bones, lungs, kidneys, liver, stomach and thyroid gland.

  • WHAT IS NUCLEAR MEDICINE

    Nuclear Medicine is a branch of diagnostic imaging that uses trace amounts of radioactive pharmaceuticals to map the function of many organs and body systems. Common areas are the heart, bones, lungs, kidneys, liver, stomach and thyroid gland.

    Nuclear Medicine can provide a rapid and accurate diagnosis of a wide range of medical conditions when used alone or in conjunction with other imaging tests.

    The tracer, usually injected into an arm vein, concentrates in the area of interest. A gamma camera moves close over the area, building an image from the radiation emitted. A complex digital system then analyses, stores and displays the images that are evaluated by our medical imaging specialists.

    Nuclear Medicine provides unique functional and physiological information to diagnose problems that often cannot be gained from other imaging examinations. This information is used to implement the best health care for patients.

    All Lake Imaging nuclear medicine technologists are accredited with the Australian and New Zealand Society of Nuclear Medicine (ANZSNM) and registered with the Medical Radiation Practice Board of Australia.

  • BEFORE A NUCLEAR MEDICINE SCAN

    You will need to bring:

    • Your referral form
    • Any relevant previous imaging
    • Your Medicare card, and any concession cards

    A referral form from your doctor or medical specialist, and an appointment is required for this examination.

    If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or caring for a small child on the appointment day, please notify us in advance to receive special instructions.

    Children under the age of 13 may, by prior arrangement arrive early and have a local anaesthetic cream applied to the injection site.

    On the morning of the test, drink two or three glasses of water, but avoid excessive amounts of tea or coffee. There is no need to have a full bladder.

  • DURING A NUCLEAR MEDICINE SCAN

    When you attend your appointment at Lake Imaging you will be asked to answer a few safety questions, remove any jewellery, watches etc, then change into an examination gown.

    The technologist will explain the scanning procedure then position you for the scan. The radioactive tracer will then be injected into an arm vein. Imaging starts immediately, and you may breathe normally but must try not to move. Initial imaging takes 20 to 30 minutes.

    Further images may be needed, very occasionally up to two hours later.

    The gamma camera is a large square radiation detector which sits close to the area being examined. In some procedures, it rotates around the body while acquiring images. You will experience no unusual sensations or discomfort from the scanning process.

  • AFTER A NUCLEAR MEDICINE SCAN

    Radiation from the injected isotope diminishes to a very low level by the end of the procedure, and you are free to resume normal activities. If you are caring for a small child, or breastfeeding, we may ask you to take some minor precautions.

    You may resume your normal activities immediately after the procedure is completed.

    if your results are needed urgently, or you have an appointment straight after your scan with your referring doctor or health care provider, Lake Imaging will arrange to have your results available immediately. Otherwise your referring doctor or health care provider will receive your report within 48 hours of your examination.

    Please ensure that you make a follow up appointment with your referring doctor or health care provider to discuss your results.

  • PATIENT SAFETY

    Nuclear medicine examinations are considered very safe with almost no reported adverse reactions attributable to the radiopharmaceuticals used in these examinations.

    Nuclear Medicine studies require very small doses of gamma radiation and are only performed where the benefits of the examination are deemed to outweigh any potential risks. At Lake Imaging you can be assured that using the latest technology and with staff trained in radiation reduction techniques, radiation doses are kept as low as reasonably possible.

    If you are worried or concerned about having a Nuclear Medicine study you should discuss this with your referring doctor or medical specialist before coming for your examination.

    If you think you may be pregnant, please inform our Nuclear Medicine team before your examination.

Find out more about the services we offer in this area

Please note; not all services are listed below, and not all services are available at every site
  • WHAT IS SPECT-CT

    Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) is a type of Nuclear Medicine image that provides a three-dimensional view of the body. It is not needed for all Nuclear Medicine examinations, but when it used, the sensitivity of the Nuclear Medicine images increases and diagnostic confidence is improved.

    SPECT imaging typically takes 15 minutes and the gamma camera slowly rotates around the patient acquiring images over 360 degrees. The computer then reconstructs these images to produce 3D views.

    SPECT imaging is usually performed in conjunction with a low dose CT scan (SPECT/CT). This further improves the image quality and allows accurate anatomical localisation and interpretation of the Nuclear Medicine scan. CT imaging is performed on the same camera, often negating the need to send patients for dedicated CT imaging.

  • WHAT IS VQ SCAN

    The V/Q, or lung ventilation and perfusion scan uses a gamma camera and small amounts of radioactive tracer to take images of the air and blood supply to the lungs. Its most common use is to diagnose a suspected clot on the lung (pulmonary embolus).

  • BEFORE A VQ SCAN

    You will need to bring:

    • Your referral form
    • Any relevant previous imaging
    • Your Medicare card and any concession cards

    A referral from your doctor or medical specialist, and an appointment is required for this examination.

    If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or caring for a small child on the appointment day, please notify us in advance to receive special instructions.

  • DURING A VQ SCAN

    When you attend your appointment at Lake Imaging you will be asked to answer a few safety questions, remove any jewellery, watches etc, then change into an examination gown.

    The technologist will explain what is involved in the V/Q examination and position you for the scan, then ask you to practice the required breathing procedure.

    There are two stages to the V/Q scan. The first involves breathing in a harmless gas containing trace radioactive elements through a tube, holding several breaths briefly, with a number of deep breaths to follow. A gamma camera will then begin to take scans, rotating slowly around your chest for 10 to 15 minutes. You may breathe normally during this sequence, but must try not move. You will experience no unusual sensations or discomfort from the scan.

    In the second stage of the V/Q examination, which follows immediately, the technologist will inject a perfusion tracer into an arm vein. A second set of images will then be obtained which takes about 10 minutes.

    The entire V/Q examination takes up to one hour to complete.

  • AFTER A VQ SCAN

    Radiation from the injected isotope diminishes to a very low level by the end of the procedure, and you are free to resume normal activities. If you are caring for a small child, or breastfeeding, we may ask you to take some minor precautions.

    If your results are needed urgently, or you have an appointment straight after your scan with your referring doctor or health care provider, Lake Imaging will arrange to have your results available immediately. Otherwise your referring doctor or health care provider will receive your report within 48 hours of your examination.
    Please ensure that you make a follow up appointment with your referring doctor or health care provider to discuss your results.

  • PATIENT SAFETY

    Nuclear medicine examinations are considered very safe with almost no reported adverse reactions attributable to the radiopharmaceuticals used in these examinations.

    Nuclear Medicine studies require very small doses of gamma radiation and are only performed where the benefits of the examination are deemed to outweigh any potential risks. At Lake Imaging you can be assured that using the latest technology and with staff trained in radiation reduction techniques, radiation doses are kept as low as reasonably possible.

    If you are worried or concerned about having a Nuclear Medicine study you should discuss this with your referring doctor or medical specialist before coming for your examination.

    If you think you may be pregnant, please inform our Nuclear Medicine team before your examination.

  • WHAT IS HEPATOBILIARY SCAN (HIDA)

    The Hepatobiliary Scan (also called HIDA scan) uses a small amount of injected radioactive tracer (radiopharmaceutical) and a gamma camera to examine the function of the gallbladder and the liver. Its main use is to diagnose gallbladder inflammation or blockages in the bile ducts.

  • BEFORE A HEPATOBILIARY SCAN (HIDA)

    You will need to bring:

    • Your referral form
    • Any relevant previous imaging
    • Your Medicare card and any concession cards
    • Your medication if you are diabetic

    A referral from your doctor or medical specialist, and an appointment is required for this examination.

    You should have nothing to eat for eight hours before the time of your appointment but may drink small amounts of water. We need you to avoid fasting for too long, so be sure to have an evening meal on the day before a morning appointment. For an afternoon appointment, a light, early breakfast eight hours prior to the examination time is recommended.

    If you are a diabetic please discuss this with us before you appointment.

    If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or caring for a small child on the appointment day, please notify us in advance to receive special instructions.

  • DURING A HEPATOBILIARY SCAN (HIDA)

    When you attend your appointment at Lake Imaging you will be asked to answer a few safety questions, remove any jewellery, watches etc, then change into an examination gown.

    The technologist will explain the procedure, position you for the scan and then inject a radioactive tracer into an arm vein. Imaging starts immediately, and you may breathe normally but must try not move. Initial imaging takes 45 to 60 minutes while the tracer passes through the liver and into the gallbladder.

    You will then be given a meal replacement drink (“Ensure Plus”) to stimulate the gallbladder. Several more images will be taken after a 30 minute delay to show the rate at which the gallbladder empties.

    Occasionally, delayed images may need to be taken up to three hours later.

    The gamma camera is a large square radiation detector which sits close to the area being examined. In some cases it will rotate around you.  You will experience no unusual sensations or discomfort from the scan.

    The images may be combined with a low dose CT (Computed Tomography) scan performed at the same time on the same scanner. This combination of SPECT/CT improves the accuracy of the information provided, and adds only a few minutes to the procedure time.

    Please allow up to 4 hours for the full Hepatobiliary examination.

  • AFTER A HEPATOBILIARY SCAN (HIDA)

    Radiation from the injected isotope diminishes to a very low level by the end of the procedure, and you are free to resume normal activities. If you are caring for a small child, or breastfeeding, we may ask you to take some minor precautions.

    If your results are needed urgently, or you have an appointment straight after your scan with your referring doctor or health care provider, Lake Imaging will arrange to have your results available immediately. Otherwise your referring doctor or health care provider will receive your report within 48 hours of your examination.

    Please ensure that you make a follow up appointment with your referring doctor or health care provider to discuss your results.

  • PATIENT SAFETY

    Nuclear medicine examinations are considered very safe with almost no reported adverse reactions attributable to the radiopharmaceuticals used in these examinations.

    Nuclear Medicine studies require very small doses of gamma radiation and are only performed where the benefits of the examination are deemed to outweigh any potential risks. At Lake Imaging you can be assured that using the latest technology and with staff trained in radiation reduction techniques, radiation doses are kept as low as reasonably possible.

    If you are worried or concerned about having a Nuclear Medicine study you should discuss this with your referring doctor or medical specialist before coming for your examination.

    If you think you may be pregnant, please inform our Nuclear Medicine team before your examination.

     

  • WHAT IS GALLIUM SCAN

    A Gallium Scan is a form of nuclear medicine that uses a small amount of radioactive tracer (radiopharmaceutical) and a gamma camera to search for and locate areas of infection and inflammation.

    The most common uses for Gallium Scans are to diagnose infected joint replacements, and identifying sites of infection elsewhere in the body.

    Gallium scans involve two to three visits over several days.

  • BEFORE A GALLIUM SCAN

    You will need to bring:

    • Your referral form
    • Any relevant previous imaging
    • Your Medicare card and any concession cards

    A referral from your doctor or medical specialist, and an appointment is required for this examination.

    You may eat and drink normally up to and during the Gallium Scan procedure. It is helpful if your bowel motions are normal for abdominal and whole body scans.

    If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or caring for a small child on the appointment or scan days, please notify us in advance to receive special instructions.

  • DURING A GALLIUM SCAN

    On your first visit to Lake Imaging a technologist will explain the Gallium Scan procedure and inject the gallium tracer into an arm vein. You are then free to go home and resume normal activities, returning at the next appointment time, which is usually 48 hours later.  This first scanning session lasts about one to one and a half hours while we map the distribution of tracer in the area of interest, which may be either a localized area or the whole body.

    Occasionally, we may need more images three days (72 hours) after the first appointment, but can only determine this after the first set of images is complete.

    The gamma camera that takes the images during this examination is a large square radiation detector which sits close to the area being examined. It also rotates around the body while acquiring images (SPECT). You will experience no unusual sensations or discomfort from the scanning process.

    The images may be combined with a low dose CT (Computed Tomography) scan done at the same time on the same scanner. This combination of SPECT/CT improves the accuracy of the information obtained, and adds only few minutes to the procedure time.

    Please allow around one hour for each visit during the Gallium examination.

  • AFTER A GALLIUM SCAN

    Radiation from the injected isotope diminishes to a very low level by the end of the procedure, and you are free to resume normal activities. If you are caring for a small child, or breastfeeding, we may ask you to take some minor precautions.

    If your results are needed urgently, or you have an appointment straight after your scan with your referring doctor or health care provider, Lake Imaging will arrange to have your results available immediately. Otherwise your referring doctor or health care provider will receive your report within 48 hours of your examination.

    Please ensure that you make a follow up appointment with your referring doctor or health care provider to discuss your results.

  • PATIENT SAFETY

    Nuclear medicine examinations are considered very safe with almost no reported adverse reactions attributable to the radiopharmaceuticals used in these examinations.

    Nuclear Medicine studies require very small doses of gamma radiation and are only performed where the benefits of the examination are deemed to outweigh any potential risks. At Lake Imaging you can be assured that using the latest technology and with staff trained in radiation reduction techniques, radiation doses are kept as low as reasonably possible.

    If you are worried or concerned about having a Nuclear Medicine study you should discuss this with your referring doctor or medical specialist before coming for your examination.

    If you think you may be pregnant, please inform our Nuclear Medicine team before your examination.

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