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Carlstadt, New Jersey

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Nuclear Medicine

What is an Nuclear Scan?

A nuclear medicine scan is a type of exam that uses radiation to help doctors evaluate physiology and function as well as anatomy and to detect disease, inflammation, or infection throughout the body. No other radiology test can more accurately measure the function of the gallbladder or kidneys, or detect certain types of cancer.

Nuclear medicine scans work differently than X-ray and CT scan procedures, which introduce radiation by beaming it into your body from the outside. When you have a nuclear medicine scan, you will drink, inhale, or be injected with a radiopharmaceutical —a drug that contains a weak dose of radiation to trace the disease’s path—and then a special camera will be placed near your body to take a picture of the area being examined.

CT Cat Scan MRI Imaging Centers for Cardiology & Oncology in New Jersey & New York City Frequently Asked Questions

As with all procedures that use radiation, you will receive the smallest dose required for your exam. Years of research have proven that the small amount used poses little risk to your health. Your body will remove all of the radioactive materials within a few days.

Doctors may request nuclear medicine scans to diagnose, or rule out, conditions such as:

  • Cancer
  • Arthritis
  • Infections
  • Internal bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Other problems involving the heart, liver, bones, or thyroid
  • In addition, some treatments may require that you undergo repeat scans to determine how you are responding.

Sovereign Health Imaging provides a full range of approved nuclear medicine procedures for:

MUGA (Multiple Gated Acquisition Scan)/Cardiac

  • Gated blood pool imaging for left ventricular function to show how well the heart is pumping blood to the rest of the body.
  • MUGA Scans are done to:
    • Check the size of the heart's chambers
    • Check the "pumping action" & estimate the blood flow output
    • Assess the heart function of Oncology patients prior to & during chemotherapy to determine if they can withstand the treatment


cardiac nulcear medicine teadmill


  • Evaluation of obstructive uropathy differentiating true obstruction from functional dilation.
  • Renal cortical function scanning in children using Tc-99m DMSA. Antegrade and retrograde vesicoureterogram for patients with V-U reflux.
renal nuclear medicine

Skeletal System:

Total body bone scans for the metastatic work-up of patients.

Three-phase bone scans for:

  • Differentiating cellulitis from osteomyelitis.
  • Differentiation loosening from infection in the evaluation of orthopedic hardware.
skeletal nuclear medicine

Gastrointestinal and Hepatobiliary:

  • Evaluation of gastric emptying for solids and liquids
  • Evaluation of colon transit
  • Hepatobiliary scintigraphy with gall bladder ejection fraction
gastrointestinal nuclear medicine

Infection Localization:

  • Using either Gallium total body scan, F- 18 FDG PET total body scanning (requires insurance approval)
infection nulcear medicine


  • Pulmonary Perfusion and/or Ventilation with and without quantitative analysis before lung surgery.
lung pulmonary nuclear medicine


  • Thyroid uptake and scanning (will follow in the future with treatment of benign and malignant thyroid disease).
  • Parathyroid imaging.
  • Adrenal medullary and cortical imaging.
  • Neuroendocrine tumors.
endocrine thyroid scan nuclear medicine

Frequently Asked Questions

What Happens During a Nuclear Medicine Scan?

Depending on the area being examined, you may be asked to drink water or refrain from eating before the test.

At the beginning of the procedure, a radioactive substance will be introduced into your body. Many people drink it or receive it through an injection. Depending on the exam and substance given, you may have to wait as little as a few hours or as long as several days before you have the exam. Different substances take different amounts of time to travel through the body and gather at the organ being studied.

For the scan, you will lie on a table under a camera mounted on a structure called a gantry. The scanning camera may rotate around your body or stay in one place for a period of time. You should remain as still as possible throughout the scan to help ensure that your images are accurate.

The camera sends information to a computer, which then creates an image of the organ being studied. Based on this information, the technician may move the camera to help improve the imaging.

How Long the Nuclear Medicine Scan Will Take?

In general, nuclear medicine scans take from 20 to 45 minutes. You should be able to go home a few hours after the test. A doctor who has specialized training in nuclear medicine will review the images and send a report to the doctor who requested the scan. This doctor will discuss the results with you.

CT Cat Scan MRI Imaging Centers for Cardiology & Oncology in New Jersey & New York City Locations
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