Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear Medicine is a discipline in medical radiation technology. It involves the use of radioactive substances and radiation technology to help diagnose, and, in some cases, treat medical problems.

Nuclear Medicine procedures are divided into two parts, laboratory work and imaging (scanning). The lab prepares radioactive solutions (radiopharmaceuticals) for intravenous injection. The radioactive solutions allow the specialized imaging equipment (gamma cameras) to acquire images. Computer programs process the information obtained from the images, in order to determine the location, size, and function of body tissues and organs. The type of radioactive tracer solution used is different for different parts of the body.

A dual-head SPEC camera is now used in the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region. This modern imaging equipment is versatile and efficient with improved diagnostic capabilities. The equipment can be used to produce images of all the organ systems within the body and aids in the diagnosis and treatment of such things as heart conditions, bone pain, kidney problems, and cancerous tumors. This dual-head SPEC camera has enhanced the work done at the Allan Blair Cancer Centre.

Patients rarely suffer side effects from the intravenous injection used in Nuclear Medicine procedures and feel nothing from the radioactive solution, or the scanning procedure. Patients receive less radiation than from many x-ray procedures. However, since some radiation is involved, the Department will not perform tests on pregnant women. If there is a possibility of pregnancy, a pregnancy test is required prior to performing the Nuclear Medicine procedure. Breast-feeding mothers may be required to stop for a period following a Nuclear Medicine procedure.

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