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What is Nuclear Medicine?

Nuclear Medicine is the use of radioactive material to conduct medical procedures. The most common form of this involves injecting, ingesting, or inhaling radiotracers into the body, and tracking their movement.

During a Nuclear Medicine procedure, radiopharmaceuticals are injected into a vein (usually in the same area where bloodwork is performed). The radiopharmaceutical travels through the bloodstream to the target organ, allowing the radiologist to see the function and structure within the body. Radiopharmaceuticals contain radioisotopes, which emit radiation that is picked up by the Nuclear Medicine camera. This is a small amount of radiation that poses little to no risk or side effects.

Nuclear imaging is primarily used to diagnose or treat illnesses. Conditions diagnosed by nuclear medicine imaging include blood disorders, thyroid disease, heart disease, gallbladder disease, lung disorders, kidney disease, bone infections or breaks, and cancer.

Types of Nuclear Imaging Exams

Bone Scans

This exam scans bones for fractures, arthritis, or evaluate metastatic disease.

Renal Scans

This exam analyzes the flow and function of the kidney.

Hepatobiliary (HIDA) Scans

This exam evaluates the function of the gallbladder, liver, and bile ducts.

Gastric Emptying

This exam evaluates gastroparesis in patients with symptoms of nausea, vomiting, early satiety, and/or abdominal pain.

Parathyroid Scan

This exam identifies and localizes parathyroid adenomas, elevated parathyroid hormone and/or serum calcium, and parathyroid hyperplasia.

Exam Duration

30 Minutes – 4 hours

X-Ray Pricing

Covered by Alberta Health Care