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Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine is a safe, painless technique for showing the shape, structure, and function of organs (i.e. kidneys, thyroid, soft tissues, and bones) and diagnosing abnormalities therein. Nuclear scans are especially helpful in finding and treating defects in the structure of an organ (such as blockage), pockets of infection (abscesses), unsuspected fractures, degenerative change, or tumors. Nuclear medicine scans often can identify abnormalities very early in the progression of a disease, a time when there may be a more successful prognosis.

A nuclear stress test measures blood flow to your heart muscle both at rest and during stress on the heart. It's performed similar to a routine exercise stress test, but provides images that can show areas of low blood flow through the heart and areas of damaged heart muscle.

A nuclear stress test usually involves taking two sets of images of your heart — one set during an exercise stress test while you're exercising on a treadmill or stationary bike, or with medication that stresses your heart, and another while you're at rest. A nuclear stress test is used to gather information about how well your heart works during physical activity and at rest.

You may be given a nuclear stress test if your doctor suspects you have coronary artery disease or another heart problem, or if an exercise stress test alone wasn't enough to pinpoint the cause of symptoms like chest pain or shortness of breath. A nuclear stress test may also be recommended in order to guide your treatment if you've already been diagnosed with a heart condition.

Bone scans are to help diagnose subtle or hidden bone fractures, such as a stress fracture, that my not show up on a routine x-ray.

Bone scans can also help detect other conditions as well such as:

  • Fractures
  • Arthritis
  • Paget's disease of the bone
  • Bone tumors
  • Infection of the joints, joint replacements or bone (osteomyelitis)
  • Fibrous dysplasia
  • Avascular necrosis or impaired bone blood supply
  • Unexplained bone pain

Your doctor may order a bone scan to determine whether cancer, such as prostate, lung or breast cancer, has spread (metastasized) to bone.

An isotope is special ordered for your test. If you need to reschedule your appointment please call us 24 hours in advance. This will avoid you incurring a costs for the isotope.

Please notify a member of UCI's staff if there is a chance you may be pregnant!

Save time! To help expedite check in at your appointment, we now offer online Patient Registration.