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Nuclear Medicine

This is a bulk billable service.

* For specified clinical indications.

Nuclear Medicine is a dynamic and progressive medical imaging modality, used to diagnose and treat pathologies in a safe and painless environment.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Nuclear Medicine?

Nuclear Medicine Imaging is the process of injecting, inhaling or ingesting small amounts of radiation to target a specific organ and demonstrate its function on a molecular level using a gamma camera. Nuclear Medicine can differ to other radiological procedures as it can often identify physiological changes and progression of disease before anatomical changes occur.

What is Nuclear Medicine Technologist?

A Nuclear Medicine Technologist is a specifically trained healthcare professional in the field of Nuclear Medicine.

Is Nuclear Medicine safe?

Yes, Nuclear Medicine has been a medical profession for over 60 years and to date there are no studies showing long term effects of low dose exposure from diagnostic Nuclear Medicine imaging. Queensland State and Australian legislation ensure all administered doses are of a safe level to patients and the public. 
In Nuclear Medicine procedures the dose administered will decay away and will be excreted via the urinary system over the following 4-48 hours after your injection.

Can I be around children and pregnant women?

Yes you can be around children and pregnant women, however we do advise to minimise your time with them and maximise your distance where possible. As you will be injected with a small amount of radioactivity for your medical benefit, it is in their best interest not to be unnecessarily exposed, as a foetus and young children are more radiosensitive than you.

What if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

In most cases we do not perform nuclear medicine procedures on pregnant women, unless a medical benefit outweighs any potential risks. This will be discussed between the Nuclear Medicine Radiologist and your referring Doctor. If you are pregnant or suspect you are pregnant, please advise your Doctor and the technologist.
Breastfeeding mothers may undergo the procedure, but will need to cease breastfeeding for 12 hours after the scan. Breast milk should be expressed and discarded during this period. Breast feeding may resume after the 12 hours.

What is a GORD Nuclear Medicine Study?

Using a gamma camera to detect gamma radiation, this exam uses an oral radioactive tracer contained in 50mL of water consumed by the patient. Once it has been ascertained that the contrast has successfully reached the stomach, the patient will then be scanned for an initial 30 minutes. Dynamic images are taken of the neck to upper abdomen in the upright and supine positions.
This is then analysed with a special software to indicate the frequency and amplitude of of reflux for the upper oesophagus and pharynx/laryngopharynx. Liquid gastric emptying is also calculated. The patient will then be given another oral water-based tracer dose with Technetium. The patient will return two hours later for a study of the chest to determine if they have aspirated the refluxed fluid into their lungs (examples to the right).The entire duration of this test is approximately three hours. Results will be sent to the referring practitioner within 72 hours.

Why am I referred for a GORD study?

A Nuclear Medicine GORD study is used to investigate Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. This disease is caused by a weakening in the esophageal sphincter, which allows stomach acid to flow back up into your oesophagus. This constant flow of stomach acid irritates the lining of the oesophagus, causing inflammation and discomfort.

Reasons to have a GORD study

· A burning sensation in the chest (heartburn)
· Atypical chest pain· Difficulty swallowing
· Regurgitation of food or liquid
· The sensation of a ‘lump’ in the throat
· Constant throat clearing
· Recurrent chest, throat and/or ear infections
· Chronic cough
Less common / additional symptoms include;
· New or worsening asthma
· Disrupted sleep

The point of difference

This test is performed in our Caloundra Clinic and is eligible for Medicare Bulk Billing. This particular study has an appealing point of difference from other GERD tests – the method and accuracy in which patient results are extracted. Dr Hans Van Der Wall has created a patented software using mathematical equations intended to effectively indicate the severity of the GORD and the likely outcome of a Laparoscopic Anti-reflux Surgery with the intention to almost entirely negate the risk of an unsuccessful surgery. Dr Van Der Wall will interpret these results and complete a written report which will be sent to the referring practitioner.

We perform Nuclear Medicine Scans at the following locations.
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