OSF Holy Family Medical Center

Nuclear Medicine

This test is used to provide images and detail of function and areas of the body that cannot be seen well with standard X-rays.

What is Nuclear Medicine Imaging?

Nuclear Medicine Imaging is a tool that produces images of the body parts using small amounts of radioactive material. Nuclear medicine scans use a special camera to take pictures of tissues and organs in the body after a tracer medication is injected in a vein and is absorbed by the tissues and organs.

The tracer shows the activity and function of the tissues or organs.

Each type of tissue that may be scanned (including bones, organs, glands, and blood vessels) uses a different radioactive compound as a tracer.

How to Prepare for a Nuclear Medicine Test?

Some Nuclear Medicine exams require no preparation, however; there are several that have dietary, caffeine and/or medication restrictions.

The technologist will call you and explain the prep you need to follow.

What to Expect

  • Once you arrive you will have a small dose of radionuclide injected. Sometimes you may be given some time for the injection to circulate throughout the body before the scan begins.
  • You will be asked to lie on a table with a camera slowly moving above you.
  • The scanning does not hurt.
  • Exams usually take 15 to 30 minutes to complete.
  • The radionuclide remains in the body only temporarily before it is passed.


Our radiologist, who is a specialist in interpreting exams, will report the results to your health care provider.

Your health care provider will receive the result into your medical record and notify you of the result.

Appointment Information

If you and your healthcare provider feel that using Nuclear Medicine Imaging would provide important information for your continued care, the provider will order the test either through the electronic medical record or with a paper order.

The Central Scheduling Department staff will call you to schedule or you can call them at (309) 734-1446 if your healthcare provider instructs you to do so. Note: some exams require you to come more than one day to complete.

The exam is performed in the Diagnostic Imaging department on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Please call the Diagnostic Imaging Department at (309) 734-1407 if you have any questions.