Nuclear medicine is a medical specialty in which a radiologist uses very small doses of radiation to create images that help your provider diagnose or treat disease. Nuclear medicine imaging can show how your body is responding to treatment. Your provider will use that information to adapt your personalized care plan.

At Baptist Health, you can expect a nuclear medicine imaging experience that is:

  • High-quality. Our nuclear medicine cameras produce detailed images that providers rely on to form an accurate treatment plan. High-quality images lead to high-quality care.
  • Safe. Our experienced technologists use the lowest radiation levels possible to keep you safe and healthy.
  • Friendly. Our team can answer all your questions so you know what to expect. Board-certified radiologists and technologists guide you through the process and prioritize your comfort, safety and positive experience.

What is nuclear medicine imaging?

Nuclear medicine imaging uses a radioactive tracer to create images that show how your organs function inside your body. After a technologist gives you a pill or injection with a low dose of radiation, a special gamma camera picks up on the energy to create pictures.

Nuclear medicine imaging can provide extremely valuable information about your health and guide your care plan. We use low levels of radiation in the tracers — just enough to produce images while prioritizing your safety.

Reasons to get nuclear medicine imaging

Providers often use nuclear medicine imaging to see if cancer has spread or how it responds to treatment. Your provider may also recommend nuclear medicine to get images of:

  • Bone fractures
  • Cancer
  • The heart and vascular system
  • Infections
  • Organ function (thyroid, kidneys, gallbladder, stomach)

What can I expect at my nuclear medicine imaging appointment?

When you schedule your appointment, the scheduling team will give you instructions to prepare for your appointment. You can generally expect the following experience for nuclear medicine imaging.

  • Following eating guidelines and arriving for your appointment on time are crucial to a successful scan. For example, our team may ask you to stop eating and drinking for six hours before your test. This restriction may include mints or gum.

    Plan to arrive early to your appointment. Your technologist timed your imaging appointment to match the optimal output for your tracer. Because radioactive tracers decay, or fade, over time, our team must follow a precise schedule for imaging. If you’re late to your appointment, you may have to reschedule. Plan to wear comfortable clothing and leave metal and accessories at home.

  • Depending on your test, you may be given a tracer before or during your appointment. Some patients take a pill days before their appointment, while others arrive to receive their tracer through an IV that day.

    If you receive your tracer on the day of your imaging test, you’ll wait about an hour to let the tracer move through your body. Then, your technologist will take you to the gamma camera. You’ll lie on a table under the camera and stay still as the technologist takes images. Your scan could last 1 to 4 hours, depending on the type of study.

  • After completing your scan, you can go home the same day. Your technologist will encourage you to drink plenty of water to help flush the tracer from your body. They’ll also advise you to keep your distance from people at risk from radiation exposure, such as babies and pregnant people, for a few hours.

    A board-certified radiologist will interpret your test results and send them to your provider in 24 to 72 hours. You’ll be able to view them at the same time through The Baptist Health PineApp.

What are the risks or side effects of nuclear medicine imaging?

Your Baptist Health team will do everything possible to give you a comfortable and safe nuclear medicine imaging scan. Nuclear medicine is painless, and side effects are rare.

The tracer exposes you to a very small amount of radiation. However, we use the lowest possible amount, and the benefits outweigh the risks.

How do I get a nuclear medicine imaging scan?

If your provider believes a nuclear medicine imaging study will better inform your care plan, they will prescribe this test. Once your provider gives you a prescription, you can call Baptist Health Imaging to schedule your appointment.

How much does nuclear medicine imaging cost?

The cost of your scan will depend on your insurance. After your provider prescribes a scan, our Preregistration and Authorization Department will confirm the price with you.

If your insurance does not cover a nuclear medicine study, you can choose to self-pay. Our Central Pricing Office will work with you to arrange your payment schedule.

Schedule your nuclear medicine imaging scan today.

Nuclear medicine locations

Baptist Health is here to support you through every stage of your health journey, beginning with getting your Nuclear Medicine Imaging at any of our diagnostic imaging locations. Online appointment scheduling is available for a Nuclear Medicine Imaging. Select a convenient location on the map to schedule.

Frequently Asked Questions about Nuclear Medicine Imaging

  • A nuclear medicine imaging scan can take 1 to 4 hours, depending on the type of scan you need. The scheduling team will tell you how long to plan for your appointment.

  • Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes you can easily move in. Because metal interferes with the images, leave metal and accessories at home.

  • You will get your results in 24 to 72 hours. The fastest and easiest way to see your results is through the PineApp. The Baptist Health app helps you easily manage your healthcare — including imaging results — from any mobile device.

  • Yes, you’ll receive a tracer that has a small dose of radiation to highlight key areas in your body. However, the level of radiation is very low, and our team follows guidelines to ensure your safety.

  • No, a nuclear medicine imaging scan is painless and noninvasive.

Proven Quality

Proven Quality

Baptist Health nuclear medicine imaging scans produce clear, high-quality images your provider can use to tailor your care plan. We are accredited by the American College of Radiology, so our medical imaging staff have the needed experience and qualifications to safely conduct nuclear medicine imaging.

Schedule your nuclear medicine imaging scan today.

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