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NM - FAQ

  • What is Nuclear Medicine?
  • Nuclear Medicine is a specialty which uses very small amount of radiopharmaceuticals to diagnose or treat disease(s). Radiopharmaceuticals are so called "magic bullet" that are attracted to specific organs, bones, or tissues. A gamma camera is used to detect the gamma rays that are emitted by the radiopharmaceuticals. These cameras work in conjunction with computers to transform such emissions into images and data which provide information about the area of body being imaged.

  • Why is nuclear medicine useful?
  • Nuclear medicine imaging is unique in that is provides functional information of the pathophysiologic process of different organs, in contrast to diagnostic radiology, which is based upon anatomy. It is a way to gather medical information that may otherwise be unavailable, require surgery, or necessitate more expensive diagnostic tests. Besides, it often identify abormalities very early in the progression of a disease. The early detection allows a disease to be treated early in its course when there may be a more favorable prognosis.

  • Do I need any prepartions?
  • Different patient preparations are needed depending on the specific system(s) or organ(s) to be examined. Some general guidelines include:
    • Sedation may be needed in some children to avoid movement.
    • Pregnancy is a relative contraindication in some studies. Please consult our staff for futher questions.
    • Remove all the metallic ornaments which may affect the examination such as necklace, belt, keys and so on.
  • What do I feel during the examination?
  • The amount of radiation received from a nuclear medicine procedure is comparable to that of a diagnostic x-ray examination. There is no side effect of the radiopharmaceuticals. After the examination, patient can perform their usual work. Patient is encouraged to drink plenty of water after the examination to facilitate the excretion of radioactivity.

  • Any side effect after the examination?
  • Because the radioisotope used in a PET-CT scan is short-lived, the amount of radiation exposure to the patient is minimal. The procedure is perfectly safe and all patients will not experience any side effect.