Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine is a safe, painless, and effective imaging method that provides specific information about organ function and structure. Nuclear medicine pharmaceuticals can also be used in the treatment or therapy of various cancers and other diseases.

John Muir Health offers nuclear medicine imaging at our Brentwood, Concord, and Walnut Creek campuses. In addition to most general nuclear medicine procedures, we offer SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) at all three campuses, as well as SPECT/CT in Brentwood and Walnut Creek.

High-Quality Imaging

Our nuclear medicine departments are accredited by the American College of Radiology, so you can be assured of the quality of images. We can perform faster scans using dual-head SPECT and dual-head SPECT/CT systems. Our SPECT/CT system can combine CT and SPECT images (fusion images) for 3-dimensional fusion imaging. This capability provides greater anatomical detail, which allows our doctors to precisely locate the functional  activity being studied.

How It Works

Nuclear medicine imaging procedures use a specially designed agent (drug) bound to a very small amount of radioactive material. These substances, called radiopharmaceuticals, isotopes, or tracers, are absorbed by specific organs, bones, or tissues. The radiopharmaceuticals emit gamma rays that are detected by a special camera. The resulting images are then stored and processed.

These procedures are performed by a nuclear medicine technologist—a specially trained and licensed healthcare professional who has direct experience in the theory and practice of nuclear medicine. The procedure results are then interpreted by a nuclear medicine radiologist.

The amount of time a procedure takes varies with the specific exam. For more information about a procedure, please call the scheduler at (925) 952-2701.

Safety

Nuclear medicine procedures are very safe. The radiopharmaceutical used and radiation dose given are carefully selected to ensure the minimum radiation exposure to the patient without impairing the accuracy of the test. Radiopharmaceuticals used for imaging studies have a short half-life, which means that they start leaving your body within hours.

Nuclear Medicine Procedures

Procedures we perform include:

  • Myocardial perfusion imaging – exercise treadmill or pharmacologic stress/rest
  • Bone scan
  • Gallium scan
  • Gastric emptying study (solid phase)
  • GI blood loss (Tc99m RBC)
  • Hemangioma
  • Hepatobiliary (with or without quantification)
  • In-111 WBC abscess localization
  • Liver-spleen scan
  • Lung V/Q (ventilation and perfusion) scan
  • Meckel’s scan
  • MUGA – cardiac gated wall motion study
  • Octreoscan
  • Parathyroid Scan
  • Renal Scan (with & without Lasix)
  • Thyroid uptake and scan
  • Thyroid whole body (I-123) scan
  • I-131 thyroid treatment for hyperthyroidism
  • I-131 thyroid ablation for thyroid cancer

Scheduling

We offer flexible exam times at all three campuses via centralized scheduling. To schedule a nuclear medicine appointment, please call (925) 952-2701 or fax your order to (925) 941-4065.