Nuclear medicine tests at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula show the inside of your body with excellent clarity. This type of imaging can detect diseases as early as possible, when treatment works best.
You’ll benefit from our highly trained, experienced staff and thorough quality measures meant to ensure safety and accuracy. Community Hospital holds accreditation in nuclear medicine from the American College of Radiology, which reviews our facilities regularly.
What is nuclear imaging?
Nuclear medicine uses radioactive material, a special camera, and a computer to create detailed images. Instead of delivering radiation from a machine, nuclear imaging puts a very low, safe dose of radiation into your body. The radiation gives off energy that shows up on the camera.
Why do I need nuclear imaging?
Your doctor may order a nuclear medicine test to:
- Check how well your heart, kidneys, or thyroid gland work
- Find gallbladder inflammation (swelling)
- Learn more about problems affecting your brain, such as seizures, memory loss, or slowed blood flow
- Scan your lungs for breathing or blood flow problems
- Look for the spread of cancer in your body
Types of nuclear medicine tests
At Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, you have access to exams such as:
Before scheduling an exam
Tell your doctor if you:
- Are sick
- Could be pregnant
- Have a history of asthma, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or a thyroid condition
What to expect
Ask your care team any questions you have about your procedure so you feel informed and prepared.
Follow the instructions you receive to prepare for your exam. You should:
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. You may need to change into a gown when you arrive
- Take off jewelry, glasses, hairpins, and any other accessories with metal before the test
Depending on your type of test, you may swallow or breathe in the tasteless radioactive material. If you get an injection of it through a vein in your wrist, a cool feeling may spread up your arm.
The material can take anywhere from several minutes to a few days to settle in the area of your body under examination. You may need to come back to the imaging center later to take images.
During the nuclear imaging test
To ensure clear images, stay as still as possible during the exam, unless your technician asks you to change positions.
Tests other than PET
If your test isn’t a PET scan, a gamma camera will move around you, sometimes very close to your body. The scanning usually takes about 20 minutes. You may get several scans over a few hours or days so your doctor can compare images taken at different times.
For a PET/CT scan, you’ll receive the CT imaging first. The PET scan will happen next and last for about 20 minutes, depending on the area of your body under examination.
After your test
Unless your care team tells you otherwise, you can return to your normal daily activities after your nuclear imaging exam. The radioactive material in your body will naturally leave your body when you use the restroom.
Rely on our nuclear medicine team to help keep you or your child safe by using the least radiation needed to create clear images. Montage Health imaging locations follow the American College of Radiology’s Image Gently and Image Wisely guidelines to:
- Avoid unnecessary imaging tests
- Use no more radiation than required