Nuclear medicine involves scans and treatments using radioactive substances. It’s safe and effective, especially when you come to a program like the one at here. We maintain national recognition for nuclear medicine excellence and deliver the outstanding care you deserve.
BJC HealthCare works with Washington University physicians, BJC Medical Group, and providers across the region to deliver extraordinary care. Nuclear medicine provides information about diseases and organ functioning that’s not possible with other imaging techniques. It includes tests such as positron emission tomography (PET) scans. Nuclear medicine also helps us deliver therapies for blood disorders and certain cancers. You'll benefit from advanced techniques and some of the region’s most trusted experts.
Highlights of our program include:
- Highly skilled team: Radiologists specializing in nuclear medicine guide your care. Technologists carrying out these procedures have all passed rigorous tests from the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board. We provide services for a high volume of complex cases putting us among the most experienced in the region.
- National recognition: Some of our locations maintain American College of Radiology® accreditation, the industry’s gold standard, for nuclear imaging and PET scans. This distinction reflects our commitment to quality in everything we do. You can rely on us for precise scans and treatments that meet your needs.
- Innovative technology: We use the best available technology, such as the Cadmium Zinc Telluride (CZT) SPECT/CT system. It helps us carry out nuclear imaging scans and procedures with better accuracy. The system provides high-definition images for pinpointing issues like cancer and infections. It also completes scans in less time and requires lower levels of radioactive substance.
- Connected and comprehensive care: BJC Healthcare is an integrated system with specialists collaborating to help patients achieve the best possible outcomes. Nuclear medicine and PET scan specialists collaborate with other members of your care team to personalize tests and treatments.
BJC is a connected network of specialists offering advanced capabilities and a seamless patient experience. After receiving a physician referral, call (314) 362-9355 or (800) 392-0936 to schedule an appointment, and we’ll take care of the details.
Before a nuclear imaging scan or therapy, you take a radioactive (radiotracer) substance by mouth, injection or inhaled gas. Your body deposits the substance in areas of high molecular activity. For example, cancer cells use more energy and attract more radiotracer.
A special camera detects concentrations of the radiotracer, and a computer assembles this information in a sophisticated format.
There are many benefits to nuclear medicine and PET scans, such as:
Detecting diseases sooner than they might appear on a CT or MRI scan
Scanning the entire body for cancer in a single examination and showing the extent of disease, such as whether it has spread to other organs
Determining whether a tumor is benign or malignant, avoiding the need for surgery
Monitoring treatment response in ways that are not possible with other imaging modalities
Before your test or procedure, we give you the radiotracer, which takes time to travel through your body and accumulate. We may perform the procedure immediately, in a few hours or days later.
Some additional information to help you prepare:
- Clothing: Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. We may give you a hospital gown to wear during the procedure.
- Documents to bring with you: Please bring a photo ID (such as your driver’s license or state ID), insurance card and a completed medical record.
- Medication: Take your medication as you usually would unless our team tells you otherwise.
- Jewelry and other metallic items: You cannot have metallic items near nuclear medicine equipment. We provide a place to store these items safely, or you can leave them at home.
You may benefit from a nuclear medicine scan if you are experiencing symptoms of certain medical conditions. We use nuclear medicine therapy for hormone conditions, cancers and blood disorders.
We use nuclear imaging scans to:
Analyze kidney or thyroid function
Check for inflammation in your gallbladder
Determine stroke type (hemorrhagic or ischemic) and location
Find bleeding in your bowel
Investigate diseased brain tissue that may be causing seizures or memory loss
Look at blood flow to your heart
Pinpoint the source of an infection
Nuclear medicine destroys abnormal cells throughout your body, making it a safe alternative to radiation therapy.
Therapy may involve:
Radioactive iodine for an overactive thyroid gland or thyroid cancer
Radioactive antibodies for lymphomas
Radioactive phosphorus for blood disorders
Radioactive materials for tumors that spread to your bones