Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear Medicine is an imaging modality that administers radiopharmaceutical agents to patients for diagnostic imaging and for treatment of a range of medical conditions.

Location

Nuclear Medicine is located within the Medical Imaging department of Canberra Hospital. From the Main Hospital reception, follow the blue line, past the Emergency department, to Medical Imaging reception.

Bookings

You will need to provide a written referral from your doctor to make an appointment (doctors within the hospital can complete an online referral).

To make an appointment, call our friendly bookings staff on 02 6244 2439 If you are able to fax your referral to us, our fax number is 02 6174 5317

Our opening hours are 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. We also offer an on call service for urgent hospital inpatients, available through the switchboard on 6244 2222.

Pregnant and breastfeeding patients

We usually do not perform Nuclear Medicine scans on pregnant patients, however there are a few exceptions. We can offer scans to breastfeeding patients; please mention this to our staff at the time of booking, as there are often special conditions required.

Scans for children

We routinely perform a range of scans on paediatric patients. We have a colourfully decorated room especially for these scans, and iPads available for entertainment and distraction. Please feel free to bring your own toys, dummy, bottles, special blankies, electronic devices, etc.

Please don’t apply any EMLA cream to your child. We perform these tests on young children every week, and our Nuclear Medicine Scientists are trained to perform these injections with a minimum of fuss and the smallest needle available.

We do not routinely give sedation to children as distraction techniques are often adequate. If you feel your child will not be able to tolerate the scan without sedation, please speak to your referring doctor first, and to the bookings staff when you make the appointment.

Radiation Safety

We are always striving to reduce the amount of radiation we use, in line with the international principle of ‘ALARA’ – as low as reasonably achievable. The adult doses we use are regularly compared to the national average, and we strive to reduce them wherever possible.

Our paediatric doses are calculated according to your child’s weight, using the international consensus formulas established by the European Society of Nuclear Medicine (EANM) and the American Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI).

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) have strict requirements around the use of radiation in Australia. For most of the scans we do, there are NO special precautions required; however we do ask you not to bring small children or pregnant women with you for the duration of your scan.

For some scans and therapies there will be special restrictions or requirements, which we will tell you about before we start the scan (we often discuss these with you when you make the appointment).

For radioactive Iodine-131 therapy, there are a number of restrictions which will apply, and we will discuss them with you when we make your appointment.

Patient Information