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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 is the process of small amounts of radiation that are injected, inhaled or ingested to target a specific organ and demonstrate its function on a molecular level. 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. The technologist looking after you will give you your injection, perform your scan and process your images to show the specialist Doctor.

Is Nuclear Medicine safe?

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 most Nuclear Medicine procedures the injection administered, will decay away and will be excreted via the urinary system over the following 4-48 hours after your injection.

Is the Nuclear Medicine procedure painful?

Depending on the type of procedure you are having, you may be required to have an injection through a small needle or cannula. This may sting for a short moment, but no more than a blood test. The scan is not painful at all. In most scans, you are required to lie on the bed and relax whilst the camera is imaging your body.

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?

Due to the known side effects of radiation to an unborn foetus, and the necessity to administered small amounts of radiation to perform the scan, in most cases we do not perform nuclear medicine procedures on pregnant women, unless a medical benefit outweighs any potential harm to the foetus. 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.

What is a GORD study?

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease is caused by a weakening in the esophageal sphincter, which allows stomach acid to flow back up into your esophagus. This constant flow of stomach acid irritates the lining of the esophagus, causing inflammation and discomfort.

What are the symptoms?

· 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

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. They 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.

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 Antireflux 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.

Radiation Exposure.

This procedure uses very low levels of radiation. To compare the radiation dose, our most frequent type of scan is the bone scan that uses 800MBq of radioactive Tc99m-HDP; the reflux study uses 35MBq of Tc-Colloid given in a cup of water.The radiation burden to the patient in this scintigraphic procedure is much less when compared to the fluoroscopy barium swallow.
The radiation exposure is comparable most closely to a Chest X-Ray.

Pregnancy / Breast Feeding.

This examination is not suitable for pregnant women. Breastfeeding mothers may undergo the procedure, but will need to cease breastfeeding for 12 hours after the scan. Breast milk should be expressed & discarded during this period. Breast feeding may resume after the 12 hours.

We perform Nuclear Medicine Scans at the following locations.
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