NUCLEAR MEDICINE

Nuclear medicine is a subspecialty of medical imaging that uses radioactive materials and special imaging techniques to study both the structure and function of organs and other tissues inside the body. It allows your doctor to obtain the information he or she needs without resorting to more expensive or invasive procedures. The versatility of this specialty makes it valuable in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer, heart disease, neurological disorders and many other medical conditions.

In a typical nuclear medicine exam, you are given a small amount of radioactive material as an injection into a vein or in the form of a pill. This material collects in the area of concern, where it releases energy in the form of gamma radiation. A gamma camera then detects that energy and uses it to create the images and information your physician will need to determine if the organ or structure being examined is working correctly.

How do I make an appointment?

Most of the time, your physician will work directly with Inland Imaging to schedule an appointment for you. If you have been asked to make your own appointment, contact Inland Imaging for scheduling information at 509.455.4455 or toll-free at 1.800.826.2944. Before calling, be sure your physician's order and insurance information (including pre-authorization, if needed) are readily available.

What should I expect?

Nuclear medicine exams are commonly-performed, painless procedures. All of the radioactive materials used are approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Inland Imaging is very conscious of the harmful effects of ionizing radiation. As a result, we strive to minimize radiation exposure by using the smallest amount of radioactive material required to perform your scan.

When you enter our imaging facility, you will be directed to the nuclear medicine department. One or our technologists will ask for a brief history, and then explain the specifics of your exam before addressing any questions or concerns you might have. Once your questions have been answered, a radiopharmaceutical will be administered intravenously or orally.

If you think you may be pregnant, or you are breast-feeding, inform your technologist before you are injected or before you swallow radioactive material.

In order to capture the best image possible, your technologist will position the gamma camera close to the area of your body being examined. Most of our scans are performed in an open area. However, if you are claustrophobic please inform your technologist and steps will be taken to help ensure your comfort. Most exams take approximately 60 minutes.

Before you leave, your results will be reviewed to ensure that diagnostic images were obtained. Those images will then be interpreted by our radiologists and a dictated report will be sent to your doctor. Your doctor will discuss the results with you.