Nuclear medicine is a branch of medical imaging that uses small amounts of radioactive material to diagnose and determine the severity of or treat a variety of diseases, including many types of cancers, heart disease, gastrointestinal, endocrine, neurological disorders and other abnormalities within the body. Because Nuclear medicine procedures are able to pinpoint molecular activity within the body, they offer the potential to identify disease in its earliest stages as well as a patient’s immediate response to therapeutic interventions.
Nuclear medicine imaging procedures are noninvasive and, with the exception of intravenous injections, are usually painless medical tests that help physicians diagnose and evaluate medical conditions. These imaging scans use radioactive materials called radiopharmaceuticals or radiotracers.
Why should I do it ?
- Physicians perform hepatobiliary imaging to evaluate disorders that affect liver cells, the ducts of the biliary system and the gallbladder.
Hepatobiliary imaging is also used to help diagnose symptoms such as:
- abdominal pain that may be caused by a sudden inflammation of the gallbladder called cholecystitis
- pain or fever following surgery on the gallbladder or the upper gastrointestinal tract
- biliary atresia in newborns, a blockage in the ducts that carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder
Any preparations needed?
- Women should always inform their physician or technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant or if they are breastfeeding.
- You should inform your physician and the technologist performing your exam of any medications you are taking, including vitamins and herbal supplements. You should also inform them if you have any allergies and about recent illnesses or other medical conditions.
- Jewelry and other metallic accessories should be left at home if possible, or removed prior to the exam because they may interfere with the procedure.
- In some instances, certain medications or procedures may interfere with the examination ordered
- You should not eat or drink for at least four hours before your exam.
- You should not have tests that use barium for 48 hours before hepatobiliary imaging.