Nuclear medicine is a subspecialty within the field of radiology that uses very small amounts of radioactive material (called radiotracers or radiopharmaceuticals) to diagnose disease and other abnormalities within the body. Depending on the type of nuclear medicine exam, the radiotracer is injected into a vein, swallowed by mouth or inhaled as a gas. It eventually collects in the area of the body being examined, where it gives off energy in the form of gamma rays. This energy is then detected by a device called a gamma camera, a PET scanner and/or probe. These devices work together with a computer to measure the amount of radiotracer absorbed by your body and to produce special pictures offering details on both the structure and function of organs and other internal body parts.
Covenant Medical Center’s Department of Nuclear Medicine provides a large menu of nuclear medicine testing. Below is a list of the more common tests performed:
- Bone Scan
- Brain Scan
- Liver/Spleen Scan
- Lung Scan
- Several different Thyroid Scans
- Renal Scan
- Scan for GI Bleed
- PET Scan (performed at the Covenant Cancer Treatment Center)
- Cardiac Scans
The Nuclear Medicine Department at Covenant Medical Center is open from 5:30am to 6:00pm Monday through Friday.
Mercy Hospital in Oelwein has a mobile service that provides the hospital and community with general nuclear medicine testing services every Thursday. Additional specialty testing is directed to Covenant’s Department of Nuclear Medicine.
Sartori Memorial Hospital inpatients and outpatients are directed to Covenant Medical Center for their nuclear medicine testing.