PARK AVENUE - Radiologists
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Nuclear Imaging is a specialized area of radiology which images organs and body functions through the emission of radioactive materials given to the patient. The radioactive materials are given orally, in a pill form, or through an intravenous injection. Using nuclear medicine radiologists can evaluate kidney, cardiac and thyroid function and diagnose diseases (such as cancer), bone fracture, infection, arthritis and other tumors.

As with all radiological procedures patients should inform the technologist if there is any chance of pregnancy.


There is little or no preparation for most nuclear medicine examinations.  If the procedure involves gastric emptying, fasting prior to examination is required.  For exams involving the kidneys you will be asked to drink fluids prior to the procedure. Patients scheduling thyroid examinations should consult their physician for appropriate preparation.  For 24 hours following a nuclear imaging study most patients are instructed to drink plenty of fluids. The residual radioactive material decays normally and passes out of the body though the urine and stool.

The material needed for a nuclear scan is ordered specifically for each procedure and therefore appointments must be scheduled carefully and honored by the patient.

The radioactive material given to the patient is specific to the particular body organ or function to be imaged. Once injected or taken orally it collects in the organ. Depending upon the specific scan it could take several hours or overnight for the material to collect.

When the patient is ready to be scanned they are placed on a scanning table. Patients are asked to stay as still as possible. The accumulated material gives off energy as gamma rays. The camera in the machine detects the rays emitted and computers produce images of the organs and tissues.


If you would like additional information on these procedures we recommend visiting the Nuclear Medicine section of RadiologyInfo.org.


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