Diagnostic Nuclear Imaging involves the use of very small amounts of radioactive material that are attached to pharmaceutical substances which are attracted to specific parts of the body. This specialty is unique in the way that it records functional information regarding organs and structures as opposed to X-rays and ultrasound which are based on structural appearance.
The radiation is detected by a gamma camera and digitally processed using computers. Recent advances in this technology have resulted in the ability of the cameras to perform SPECT/CT, (3-dimensional imaging). Combining the functional nuclear medicine images with structural CT images has greatly increased the diagnostic utility of this specialty.

Bone Scans

Commonly used for assessment of fractures, joint replacements, fusions, arthritis, infections and cancer staging. No preparation is required.
This test is performed in two parts. At your first appointment you will receive an injection and some images may be taken. This will take approximately 15 minutes. There are no side effects, and you can eat as normal. You will be asked to increase your fluid intake before the second part of the test, and to empty your bladder regularly.
The second part of the test is performed usually 3 hours after the injection, to allow the injection to attach itself to the bones. Before your images are taken will be asked to empty your bladder and remove metal objects such as belts, jewellery and glasses. The imaging will take approximately 30 mins to an hour.

Gallium Scans

Commonly used to evaluate suspected infection. No preparation required.This test is performed in two parts. At your first appointment you will receive an injection of Gallium, this has no side effects and you can eat and drink as normal. This will take approximately 15 mins. You will be asked to return to the department 24 - 48 hours later for your second appointment where you will be imaged. This will take approximately an hour. You will be lying flat on the scanning bed for the duration of imaging.

Lung Scans

Used to diagnose blood clots in the lungs (pulmonary embolism) or to evaluate lung function prior to lung resection. No preparation required. This test has two parts which are preformed consecutively. The first part assesses the air flow into the lungs. You will be asked to inhale a gas that it mildly radioactive, then a 3D image of your lungs will be taken, where the camera rotates around your chest. The second part assesses the blood flow to the lungs. You will be given an injection, into a vein in your arm, then a second 3 dimensional image of your lungs will be taken.

Myocardial Perfusion Scan (MPS)

An MPS is used to evaluate the blood flow to the heart and is a safe, accurate and non-invasive test of the coronary artery blood flow. It is performed in two stages, usually performed on the same day, at least 3 hours apart.
There is important preparation involved with this study, regarding fasting, stopping certain medications and caffeine. A nurse from our department will call you to discuss these matters prior to your appointment. You will generally be required to cease all caffeine intake for 24 hours prior to the study.
The stress portion of the test is usually performed first. If you are able to exercise on a treadmill, this method will be used to stress your heart. If you are unable to adequately exercise, the Doctor will use a medication to simulate the same effect on your heart as exercise, as you lie on a bed. Where possible, a combination of exercise and medication is used to stress your heart to the appropriate level for imaging. At this point the first radioisotope injection will be administered. You will have to wait for at least 1 hour before the images are taken. In this time you will be given small snack to eat and a caffeinated drink. The imaging takes 10 mins, during which you will be lying on your back with your arms above your head so as the camera can get as close as possible to your chest.

Brain Spect Scans

This is a study evaluating brain blood flow and brain function. It is performed following the injection of a blood flow tracer into a vein in your arm, while you are resting in a quiet room. The injection has no effect on you.

Brain SPECT can be a useful study in evaluation of patients with cognitive or memory difficulties, epilepsy, pevious brain trauma or injury, and stroke. It may also be of assistance in patients with neuropsychiatric disorders, to help your doctor in evaluation of your condition.

No preparation or fasting is requied. You may be required to cease certain medications and/or caffeine prior to the scan – you will be advised as to whether this is necessary prior to your appointment.

Renal Scan

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Used in the assessment of function of the thyroid gland, characteristation of thyroid nodules.
You will need to notify us if you are thyroid medication. If you taking thyroid hormone replacement this will need to ceasedfor 4 weeks prior to the study – this should only be done in consultation with your doctor. If you have recently had a CT scan with contrast, you will need to wait 4-6 weeks before you can have a thyroid nuclear scan. You should refrain from eating iodine rich foods such as kelp, or taking supplements containing iodine. If you are unsure about any of these instructions, please contact our office.
On the day of the test you will be given an injection of a radiotracer into an arm vein, while lying on the scanning bed with the camera directly over your neck. There are no side effects to the injection. The scan can take upto 45 minutes, depending on your thyroid function.

Molecular Breast Imaging

DNI currently provides Australia’s only Molecular Breast Imaging service using a dedicated Breast Imaging Gamma Camera. Developed at the Mayo Clinic, Molecular Breast Imaging (MBI) is highly sensitive and specific for the detection of Invasive Breast Cancer independent of Breast Density.
MBI employs a new generation of High Resolution Cadmium Zinc Telluride (CZT) gamma detectors. MBI provides functional imaging of the breast to detect tumours at a cellular level.
MBI overcomes the problem of occult lesions hidden by Dense Breast Tissue on Mammography. MBI is an effective supplemental screening technique in women with Dense Breast tissue who are at greater risk for developing Breast Cancer.

What does an MBI scan involve?
The patient receives a small intravenous injection of the common radiotracer Tc-99m labelled Sestamibi which concentrates in cancerous tissue due to increased vascularity and metabolic activity. There are no side effects from the injection of Tc-99m Sestamibi.
Approximately 5 minutes after the injection, images of the breast are taken in similar projections to mammography with the patient seated comfortably and two standard 10-minute images are taken of each breast. The scan will usually take approximately 1 hour. Occasionally further images may be required, therefore it is best to allow 1.5 hours Unlike mammography, which requires compression of the breast, only gentle pressure.

Preparation for MBI scan
MBI is not recommended for women who are pregnant or below the age of 40.
MBI is best performed in the first 2 weeks of the menstrual cycle and a 4-hour fast is required.
A recent mammogram (within the last 24 months) is usually recommended. Please bring a copy of your mammogram report, as well as any other recent breast imaging.


A range of other studies are available please contact our office to discuss.