What is Nuclear Medicine?


Through small amounts of radioactive material, Nuclear Medicine can help diagnose and treat a wide variety of diseases and conditions, such as cancer, gallbladder disease, heart disease, Coronary Artery Disease, arthritis, and infection. Because only tiny amounts of short-lived radioactive materials are used, it is a safe and effective medical procedure. The procedure carries about the same risk as a common x-ray.

You also have the added comfort of knowing that, at The Imaging Center of Las Cruces Radiology, we adhere to strict safety standards.

There are four basic steps involved in this procedure:
1. You are given a radioactive isotope (compound called a radiopharmaceutical). Depending on the body part to be examined, the isotope is injected, swallowed or inhaled.
2. The isotope travels through your body giving off energy in the form of gamma rays, which shows the location of the isotope in your body.
3. The gamma cameras are tools used to take pictures and to measure the organ functioning. A computer then processes the information to produce images of your body.
4. These images are then studied and interpreted by a radiologist and a report is sent to your physician. The information acquired in a nuclear medicine study is combined with the results of general x-rays or other tests that you have received, in order to produce images of your body.


Nuclear Medicine Exam Descriptions


Physiologic function Nuclear Medicine tests include:
Stress Tests - We Offer Two Options!
Myocardial Perfusion Study: This test determines if your heart muscle is receiving adequate blood supply under stress and/or rest conditions by chemically stressing your heart. Total exam time is 2.5 -- 3 hours. 

Treadmill Stress Test: This test determines if your heart muscle is receiving adequate blood supply under stress and/or rest conditions by physical exertion on a specialized Treadmill. Total exam time is 2.5 -- 3 hours.


Renal Scans: Scan provides graphic display of kidney function; and urinary tract can be detected through renal scans.


Thyroid Uptakes and Scans: This test is used to diagnose disorders of the thyroid gland, which is considered the "thermostat" because it speeds up or slows down most body functions.


Liver, Spleen and Gallbladder Imaging: These scans help diagnose gallbladder disorders and liver disorders, such as cirrhosis and tumors.


Total Body and Limited Area Bone Scans: Whether it is a total body scan or a limited area bone scan, they are used to detect areas of bone growth, fractures, tumors or bone infections.

Other Nuclear Medicine Studies:


    Hepatobiliary
    Gastric Emptying
    GI Bleeding
    Brain Spect
    Meckels
    MUGA (Gated Blood Pool) for Ejection Fraction
    Liver Hemangioma
    Parathyroid


Nuclear Medicine Exam Preparations:


Bone Scan: No preparation is required. You will receive an injection (in the arm) and return in 2-4 hours for the exam. 


Thyroid-Uptake & Scan; Thyroid Therapy: No food for 4 hours prior to the exam. You can have liquids. You will receive a capsule in the morning and return 6 hours later for the scan. If you are on thyroid medications, you must be off of them for 4-6 weeks prior to the exam. Please contact TIC for exact timeframe as this may vary for different medications.


Liver/Spleen, GI Bleed Scan, Gastric Emptying Scan, Liver Spect: No Prep or Barium studies for 48 hours prior to the scan.


Gallbladder Scan: No food or drink for 6 hours prior to the exam.


Stress Tests - We Offer Two Choices!
Myocardial Perfusion Test with Adenosine: No food or drink for 4 hours prior to the test. No caffeine or smoking for 24 hours prior to the test. No steroids or Viagra for 48 hours prior to the test. Patient is to wear loose fitting clothing for the exam.

Treadmill Stress Test: No food or drink for 4 hours prior to the test. No caffeine or smoking for 24 hours prior to the test. No steroids or Viagra for 48 hours prior to the test. Patient is to wear exercise clothing such as a Jogging suit or Shorts and T-shirt/ Tank Top.