Nuclear medicine scans
Molecular imaging uses radioactive pharmaceuticals to produce images of various organs of the body as well as disease.
Molecular imaging scans use radiopharmaceuticals to highlight specific organs or disease in the body depending on what type of pharmaceutical the isotope is bound to.
The radiopharmaceutical gives off energy in the form of gamma rays which the gamma camera can detect and then turn into an image.
This means that we are able to visualise the way an organ is functioning - for example, using a renal radiopharmaceutical we can watch the kidneys fill up and then drain into the bladder.
If we bind the tracer to a phosphate, this will send the radiopharmaceutical from the blood stream into the bone matrix and highlight areas of over-activity in the bones determining fractures, infection or spread of disease.
The images show important functional information which can then be combined with other anatomical imaging to give the treating doctors the whole picture. This is therefore of great use to patient management.
Not only can we look at the structure of an organ, but also how it works. The images are developed based on the detection of energy emitted from a radioactive substance which is given to the patient either intravenously or by mouth.
Why choose The London Clinic
Excellence in one place
We operate as teams of experts with world-class resources dedicated to maintaining the highest standards of medical care. You are surrounded by the latest treatments and advice with everything you need to get back to your best health.
Personal care, every time
Exceptional patient care is a way of life for us. Our nurses, clinicians and support teams are dedicated to the care of a very small number of patients, so have more time for you. They’ll be with you every step of the way, tailoring your care around you and giving the peace-of-mind that comes with knowing you’re in the best hands.
We work together as one to guide you through each step of your experience, with complexities unravelled and answers readily to hand. Your personal treatment plan will be laid out for you, with all the details taken care of so you can focus on you.
What's included in your package?
Choosing The London Clinic means your treatment plan will be laid out for you, with all the details taken care of so you can focus on you.
Your treatment package will include:
- Enhanced pre-admission assessment
- Your treatment with our complete care team at your fingertips
- Personalised aftercare and follow-up
We want you to be in control of your health. That’s why we also offer optional services such as comprehensive recovery packages and extra touches for you to choose from during your stay with us.
How to pay
- You can use private medical insurance (PMI) to access this treatment. We work with all major PMI providers in the UK and many internationally
- You can pay for yourself (self-pay)
- If you’re paying for yourself, we have finance options available with Chrysalis
- Bone scans
- Kidney studies
- Thyroid imaging
- Parathyroid scanning
- Gastric emptying
- Brain scans
- Post radionuclide therapy imaging
- White cell infection scanning
- Lymphatic drainage studies
- Gastro-intestinal studies
- Lung studies
- Heart studies
- Pre-operation breast studies
- Neuro-endocrine imaging
There are no allergies or reasons that mean you are not suitable for a molecular imaging test.
However, if there is any chance that you are pregnant or you are breastfeeding, please notify your referring clinician, and the molecular imaging department on booking your appointment.
The radiopharmaceutical used is determined by what part of the body or process is under investigation, as some compounds collect in specific organs or bind to specific receptors better than others.
It is usually administered into a vein but can also be ingested or inhaled. It is extremely rare to feel any differently after the administration.
Depending on which type of scan is being performed, the imaging will be done either immediately, a few hours later, or even several days after the administration.
Imaging times vary, generally ranging from 30 to 60 minutes. Some studies require a series of images at different times after the administration.
Occasionally a study will require certain medications or foods to be stopped about which you would be informed.
While the images are being obtained, you must remain as still as possible. This is especially true when a series of images is obtained to show how an organ functions over time.
Throughout the procedure the Technologist checks the quality of the images to ensure that an optimal diagnostic study has been performed.
Once the procedure is complete, it may take time to process and analyse the images before the doctors are able to make a report.
- The functional information provided by molecular imaging examinations is unique and currently unattainable by using other imaging procedures. For many diseases or other conditions, these studies yield the most useful information needed to make a diagnosis and to determine appropriate treatment, if any
- molecular imaging is much less traumatic than exploratory surgery, and allergic reaction to the radiopharmaceutical material is extremely rare
- Analyse kidney function
- Image blood flow and function of the heart
- Scan lungs for respiratory and blood-flow problems
- Identify blockage of the gallbladder
- Identify bleeding into the bowel
- Differentiate between Parkinson’s and other neurological diseases
- Evaluate bones for fracture, infection, arthritis or tumour
- Determine the presence or spread of cancer
- Locate the presence of infection
- Measure thyroid function to detect an overactive or underactive thyroid
- Treat thyroid disease
- Treat neuroendocrine tumours
The scan will be analysed and reported by a molecular imaging physician and the results will be forwarded to the referring clinician within 24 hours or before your follow-up appointment.