Medical Services

Department of Radiology: Nuclear Medicine FAQ

Click here for PDF of this page.


Q. What is Nuclear Medicine?

A. Nuclear Medicine is a technique that involves the use of small amounts of radioactive
material to diagnose and sometimes treat a wide variety of diseases. Nuclear Medicine can
provide accurate images of the body's internal organs and tissues, as well as provide
valuable information about organ and tissue function. With this information, problems can be
detected and proper treatment administered.

To perform a nuclear scan, the patient is given a harmless amount of radioactive material,
which is absorbed by body tissues in different concentrations. An instrument called a gamma
camera is then used to detect and map the radiation throughout the body to produce images,
which can then be used to assess the health of the organ being studied.

Q. Why have an Nuclear Medicine diagnostic exam?

A. Nuclear Medicine provides information about bodily function, not simply anatomy. Doctors
usually recommend Nuclear Medicine when they suspect an organ is not functioning
properly. Nuclear Medicine can detect a wide variety of disorders such as cancer, heart
disease, thyroid problems, bone/joint ailments, blood clots, infection, liver/gallbladder
disease and many others.

Q. Why come to the Medical Center for Nuclear Medicine?

A. Englewood Hospital and Medical Center offers state-of-the-art Nuclear Medicine diagnostic
facilities complemented by a caring staff of Board Certified and Fellowship trained doctors
who specialize in Nuclear Medicine. The Department of Radiology is one of the few centers
in northern New Jersey to have the latest gamma camera technology, which in some cases
can cut scanning time in half. A registered nuclear medicine technologist will perform your
exam. Our skilled professionals possess the expertise needed for accurate diagnosis and the
compassion to make patients feel at ease.

Our Department of Nuclear Medicine is accredited by The Intersocietal Commission for
the Accreditation of Nuclear Medicine Laboratories (ICANL).

Q. What can I expect during the procedure?

A. Patients either swallow or are injected with a harmless amount of radioactive material, which is absorbed by body tissues in different concentrations. Depending upon the type of scan being done, this may be given at the time of the scan or several hours before. The patient lies still for the duration of the scan while the gamma camera moves around the body,
generating images.The scan is painless and will take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or more, dependingupon the study.

Q. How do I prepare for a Nuclear Medicine diagnostic exam?

A. Patients will be provided with detailed instructions on scans from their physicians. Some
people, such as women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, should not receive a Nuclear
Medicine scan. Patients should discuss any health issues that may rule out the use of
nuclear scans with their physicians.

Depending upon the test being done, patients may be asked to avoid food and/or water for a
period of time before the test. A change in diet or medications taken in the weeks before the
test may be required

Q. What if I still have questions about Nuclear Medicine?

A. For more information, call the Department of Radiology at 201-894-3400.