Nuclear Medicine

Hallmark Health System offers nuclear medicine exams at both Melrose-Wakefield Hospital and Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

Nuclear medicine is a subspecialty within the field of radiology that uses very small amounts of radioactive material called a radiopharmaceutical or radiotracer to diagnose disease and other abnormalities within the body.

Depending on the type of nuclear medicine scan you are undergoing, the radiotracer is injected into a vein, swallowed by mouth, or inhaled as a gas and eventually collects in the area of your body being scanned, where it gives off energy in the form of gamma rays.  This energy is detected by a device called a gamma camera and/or probe.  These devices work together with a computer to measure the amount of radiotracer absorbed by your body and to produce special pictures offering details on both the structure and function of organs and other internal body parts.

Common types of nuclear medicine scans include:
•    Cardiac stress test
•    Bone scan
•    Lung scan
•    Kidney scan
•    Thyroid scan

Common uses:
Physicians use nuclear imaging to visualize the structure and function of an organ, tissue, bone, or system of the body.

Nuclear medicine scans are performed to:
•    Analyze coronary artery blood flow
•    Evaluate bones for fracture, infection, arthritis and tumors
•    Scan lungs for respiratory and blood flow problems
•    Determine the presence or spread of cancer
•    Identify blockage in the gallbladder
•    Measure thyroid function to detect an overactive or underactive thyroid
•    Analyze kidney function
•    Identify bleeding in the bowel
•    Locate the presence of infection
•    Investigate abnormalities in the brain

Because the doses of radiotracer administered are small, diagnostic nuclear medicine procedures result in minimal radiation exposure.  Thus, the radiation risk is very low compared with the potential benefits.  Nuclear medicine has been used for more than five decades, and there are no known long-term adverse effects from such low-dose exposure.  Allergic reaction s to radiopharmaceuticals may occur but are extremely rare.

Women should always inform their physician or radiology technologist if there are any possibility that they are pregnant or if they are breastfeeding their baby.


Lawrence Memorial Hospital
170 Governors Avenue
Medford, MA 02155

Melrose-Wakefield Hospital
585 Lebanon Street
Melrose, MA 02176

How to schedule an appointment:
Please call, 781-338-7111 to schedule, or change, your appointment. 

Should you have any questions about your exam, please call 781-979-3137, Melrose-Wakefield Hospital or 781-306-6809, Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

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