Nuclear medicine is a specialised area of radiology that uses small amounts of radioactive medications (radiopharmaceuticals) to image and sometimes treat disease.
What we do?
If you are required to have nuclear medicine, the following procedure will be followed.
Radiopharmaceuticals are usually injected into a vein but may be swallowed or inhaled, depending on the requested scan. After administration of these medications, you will not feel any side effects. Radiopharmaceuticals typically clear your body within 24 hours.
Imaging is performed on a gamma camera (SPECT/CT), a specialised piece of equipment, capable of detecting the bio distribution of the radiopharmaceutical in the body.
You may be required to have a CT scan in conjunction with your Nuclear Medicine scan; both scans can conveniently be performed using the same machine.
Nuclear medicine scans can take between 15 minutes and 4 hours, depending on the area of your body being investigated. A letter detailing the required preparation and estimated scan duration, will be provided, following your appointment booking.
If you are, or think you may be pregnant, please tell your Doctor and Radiographer, as Nuclear Medicine scans can be harmful to an unborn baby. An alternate test may be an option.
Diabetics taking insulin (IDDM): if you have a morning appointment, take ½ of your insulin dose with a light breakfast. If you have an afternoon appointment, take ¾ of your insulin dose with your normal breakfast and have a light lunch unless otherwise advised.
Diabetics not taking insulin (NIDDM): take your tablets as normal.
What to expect?
Our staff will inform you if any preparation is needed for your scan. You will also receive a letter detailing any required preparation.
Depending on the scan you are booked for, you may receive a phone call from either a Nurse or a Technologist to ensure you understand the preparation requirements.
If you are either pregnant or breastfeeding, please let our staff know at the time of booking; or please contact our department so we can explain what precautions need to be taken.
What does a Nuclear Medicine scan cost?
All Medicare rebateable services provided by BHS Radiology are bulk-billed and no additional fees charged.
Out-of-pocket fees apply for non-Medicare rebateable services.
Commonly Asked Questions
Do I need to bring my referral?
Yes, we are unable to do your scan without a referral. If you forget to bring your referral, we will have to reschedule your appointment.
I have a referral for another imaging provider, can I have my test at BHS Radiology?
Yes, we accept all referrals/requests.
Where do I find Radiology?
Radiology is located behind the Emergency Department closest to the Mair Street entrance of Ballarat Health Services.
Is there a drop-off area and what parking is there available?
Yes, there is a drop-off and pick-up zone available within the multi-storey car park (there is no fee for drivers using the drop-off zone and staying less than 30 minutes).
Do I need to make an appointment for a Nuclear Medicine scan?
Yes, bookings are essential for Nuclear Medicine scans.
How long does it take for my results to come through?
Please allow up to 2 working days for non-urgent results to be sent to your referring doctor. We are unable to give your requests to you.
Ballarat Base Hospital
1 Drummond Street North
Ballarat VIC 3350
Monday to Friday 7.30 am - 5 pm
Emergency Radiology is available through the Emergency Department, outside of these hours.
To access this service, you must have a referral from a medical provider.
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