Nuclear Medicine Procedures Performed

SPECT and CT fused image of a bone scan in a patient with low back pain. showing active facet joint arthropathy suitable for injection of steroids.

What is Nuclear Medicine?

Nuclear Medicine is a painless and safe method to scan the body to study structure and function of body organs and bones using radiation from radioactive tracers. Nuclear Medicine procedures often identify abnormalities very early in their progress of a disease long before medical problems are apparent with other diagnostic tests.

How does it work?

Dependent upon the request from your doctor, the procedure involves the injection, swallowing or inhalation of a small amount of a chemical substance tagged with a radioactive tracer – a radiopharmaceutical. The radiopharmaceuticals give off gamma rays and are designed to concentrate in the part of the body being investigated, where there could be an abnormality or disease, e.g. skeleton, lungs, heart or liver. A special camera – a gamma camera then moves around the body, providing a series of images of the radioactivity occurring in that area.

Are the radiopharmaceuticals safe?

Yes absolutely. Like any medicine they are prepared carefully and tested before using on the general public. The risk of side effects is very low. The radiopharmaceuticals commonly used are quickly eliminated from the body through its natural functions.

Is the radiation harmful?

Although radiation exposure in very large doses can be harmful, the radioactivity in radiopharmaceuticals is very minimal and rapidly decreases. The dose is carefully selected to be safe by the Nuclear Medicine technician.

Nuclear Medicine Procedures performed by Sunshine Coast Radiology: 





 Bone scan showing Paget’s disease of the left hemipelvis, uncomplicated bilateral knee and shoulder prostheses, left anterior rib fractures and left femoral neck fracture, and cardiac uptake consistent with a pericardial effusion or pericarditis.

    Bone Scan  

  -Fractures-stress, occult & crush fractures

  -Sports Injuries- e.g. shin splints

  -Metastases & Bone Tumours

  -Musculoskeletal infections

  -Prosthesis & fixating  

  -Hardware complications

  -Bone Disease e.g. Paget’s or fibrous



 Myocardial perfusion scan showing inducible ischaemia of the septum and apex.

   Myocardial Perfusion Imaging


  -Cardiac Ischaemia

   Gated Heart Pool Studies

  -Cardiac ejection fraction


 DTPA scan showing a distended left kidney and ureter leading to an ileal conduit, but with normal washout and no obstruction. The right kidney has poor excretion.



  -Renal perfusion , excretion & drainage

  -Renal differential function

  -Renal Artery Stenosis with Captopril

   DMSA Scan


  -Renal scarring

  -Renal differential function


 Cerebral perfusion scan with a defect of the right parieto-occipital cortex most likely due to ischaemic cause.

     Ceretec Brain Perfusion Imaging     -Dementia differentiation

 V/Q lung scan showing multiple matched defects on both ventilation and perfusion images consistent with COPD and not suggestive of pulmonary emboli.

   Ventilation & Perfusion Imaging

  -Pulmonary Emboli

  -Emphysema surgery assessment


 HIDA scan showing poor gall bladder emptying after fatty meal stimulation.


   HIDA Scan


  -Cholecystitis, Biliary Dyskinesia & bile leaks

     Colloid and RBC Studies     -Differentiation of liver lesions

 Thyroid scan showing Grave’s disease.


   Pertechnetate Scans


  -Evaluating Thyrotoxicosis

     Radioactive Iodine     -Treatment of Thyrotoxicosis

 Sestamibi parathyroid scan showing a parathyroid adenoma on the right.

     Sestamibi Scan     -Hyperparathyroidism

 Octreotide scan showing carcinoid in the mid abdomen.



     Specialised Studies including Octreotide  

  -Phaeochromocytoma, Neuroblastoma

  -Carcinoid, Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma,

  -Pancreatic Islet Cell Tumours & Adrenal   

  -Cortical Lesions.



 Gastric emptying study showing poor gastric emptying.


   Gastric Emptying Studies


  -Gastric paresis


   Colonic Transit Studies


  -provides quantitative assessment of chronic constipation

     GI Bleeding Study     -Occult GI bleeding

 Gallium scan showing normal physiological distribution.

   Labelled White Cells

  -Inflammatory bowel disease



  -Pyrexia of unknown origin

  -Chronic inflammatory processes


 Breast lymphoscintigraphy demonstrating lymphatic drainage to axilla and internal mammary nodes.




  -Sentinel node  localization for breast & melanoma surgery


   Lacrimal Scan

  -Assess Lacrimal drainage

   Salivary  Scan

  -Assess salivary function