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Nuclear Medicine

Why choose Rady Children’s nuclear medicine?

Rady Children’s has the only nuclear medicine program in San Diego dedicated exclusively to providing nuclear medicine services for pediatrics. It is our mission to make these studies accessible and safe for our pediatric population and our equipment is designed and calibrated specifically with children in mind.

What is nuclear medicine?

Nuclear Med photo

Nuclear medicine is a diagnostic procedure that uses small amounts radioactive isotopes. These radioactive isotopes are administered in a variety of different ways depending on the type of exam being performed and make their way to the tissue or body part being examined. Once these radioactive isotopes have made their way to their desired location a camera, specifically designed to detect the gamma rays emitted from these radioactive isotopes, is used to acquire images and data for our skilled team of radiologists to interpret.

What should I and/or my child expect?

Our nuclear medicine patients will be greeted with a smile by our waiting room staff upon their arrival. Upon being brought back to the nuclear medicine exam room, the patient will be given the radioactive isotope. The radioactive isotopes are administered by injection or orally depending on the type of exam you or your family member will be undergoing.

Exam length varies depending on the exam. Family members can sit next to their loved ones for most non-anesthesia exams. Throughout the exam, the patient must remain as still as possible. For this reason, for many of our wiggliest patient’s anesthesia may be necessary to acquire the highest quality images possible for certain exams.

What can we do to prepare?

For patients undergoing anesthesia for their exam, it is extremely important to adhere to the instructions regarding food and water prior to your exam. Our team of anesthesiologists will reach out before the date of your exam to provide you with instructions specific to your exam.

Exam instructions for non-anesthesia patients vary from exam to exam. You will be provided with information regarding your specific exam from our scheduling staff at the time you make your appointment. The technologist will also reach out the day before the exam to confirm and answer any questions you may have.

How long will it take to get results?

Most results come back within two-three business days after the exam. These results will be sent over to the physician who ordered the ultrasound. Results are also uploaded to your MyChart once they are finalized by our team of radiologists. If you do not have an appointment or have not heard back from the ordering doctor in four days, we recommend getting into contact with them to review your results.