Nuclear Medicine or Isotope Scanning

Nuclear medicine or isotope scanning uses radioactive substances to see structures and functions inside your body. Nuclear scans involve a special camera that detects energy coming from the radioactive substance, called a tracer. Before the test, you receive the tracer, often by an injection. Although tracers are radioactive, the dosage is small. During most nuclear scanning tests, you lie still on a scanning table while the camera makes images. Most scans take 20 to 45 minutes.

When a radioisotope is linked with certain chemicals it can trace the workings of the human body. These tests allow radiologists to find alterations in the normal functioning of the body organs, for examples the heart of kidneys, or show early involvement of the body with infections or cancer.

Nuclear Medicine