Nuclear Medicine Imaging

Nuclear Medicine Imaging

Also known as a Radio Isotope, Nuclear Medicine Imaging uses small amounts of radio-active pharmaceuticals to image the body and help diagnose or treat a variety of diseases. The procedure determines the cause of the medical problem based on the function of the organ, tissue or bone.

Without Nuclear Medicine Imaging this information may not be available, the alternative being surgery or more expensive and invasive diagnostic tests. Nuclear Medicine shows how your body works whereas X-Rays and CT scans show how your body looks.

The radio-pharmaceutical is either injected, swallowed or inhaled (in the form of a gas). This energy is then be detected by a gamma camera.

• Please remember to bring your medical aid card together with the signed request form from your referring doctor.
• Μedical aid authorisation will be obtained by our department.
• A motivation letter may be required from your doctor, which can delay your authorisation.
• Co-payments may apply to certain medical aids, this will be discussed when you make your booking. Payment is due at time of scan.

Preparing for your Radio Isotope Scan

  • Please arrive 20 minutes before the appointment time to complete paperwork.
  • Previous scans (MRI, CT, X-Ray or U/S), not done with Lake, Smit & Partners, must be brought with you on the day of the scan (either a CD or printed copy).
  • You will be asked to read and complete an informed consent form. Lake, Smit and Partners complies with all the regulations of the Medical Control Council, and some of the pharmaceuticals are not available in South Africa. We are therefore required to import relevant pharmaceuticals and for this reason a progress and consent form will need to be signed.
  • Some scans will require a preparation that might require you to fast and to stop all medication. You will be informed of this at the time of booking and a scan preparation sheet will be provided.
  • Wear comfortable clothing for your imaging procedure.
  • The procedure can take between 1 and 5 hours. You will be advised at the time of booking how long your procedure will take. Selected procedures may need a 24 to 48-hour imaging. You will be informed of this when you make your booking.

Additional and relevant information

Please tell your Radiographer before the scan if any of the following apply to you:

  • If you have had any previous imaging done where you were given a contrast media;
  • You are on any medication;
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding.

What to expect during your Radio Isotope Scan

  • You will be given an IV injection/oral administration of the radio-pharmaceutical before the scan.
  • You will be asked to lie on a movable scanning table.
  • There are 2 cameras and the table will move between them.
  • Long examinations require multiple interval scans and you will need to get on and off the scanning table between the scans.
  • The radiographer will be able to communicate with you at all times.

Waiting for your results

The images are interpreted by a Specialist Nuclear Physician and it usually takes between 1 and 2 hours for the report to be completed. There may be a further delay of up to 24 hours, depending on the degree of complexity and time required for the report to be completed. Once it is completed, the report will be forwarded to your referring doctor.

Entabeni Hospital
148 Mazisi Kunene Road, Durban
Tel: 087 310 4983

Gateway Private Hospital
36-38 Aurora Drive, Umhlanga Rocks
Tel: 087 310 4985

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