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Nelson Radiology Ireland

Nuclear Medicine (Radionuclide Imaging)

Nuclear medicine is the name given to the use of radioactive isotopes linked to certain chemicals to produce an image of different parts of the body. These isotopes emit gamma rays, which are similar to X-rays. The radiation does not stay in your body for very long, as the isotopes used decay within a few hours.

The isotope preparation is generally injected into a vein, but may be swallowed or inhaled, and is taken up by a specific organ. Radiation from the isotope is then detected by a special camera called a gamma camera, and an image is produced on a screen. Unlike ordinary X-rays, nuclear medicine can also be used to show how well an organ is working, as well as what it looks like - physiology as well as anatomy.

There is usually a delay between the injection and taking the images with the Gamma camera. The Gamma camera is very quiet and you are not enclosed during the scan.

Information of the scan, patient information and what details involved will be sent to you prior to your scan and all questions answered thoroughly.

All Nuclear Medicine scans for Nelson Radiology will be performed at Antrim Area Hospital.

Common Types of Nuclear Medicine Scans include:

At the time of examination the Radiographer will not be able to give you any results. A Consultant Radiologist will report on the images and provide a report to the clinician who referred you within 72 hours.

Depending on the scan you will take a CD of the images home with you on the day.