Nuclear Medicine

Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas
354 Santa Fe Drive
Encinitas, CA 92024 US
    Visiting Hours
    • 8 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.
    • Visiting hours may be adjusted based on the patient's needs or wishes.
    Emergency Services
    • The ER is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
    • Parking is free. Valet parking is $5.
    • Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
    • 858-964-1012

Specialized Nuclear Imaging

Nuclear medicine produces images of the body’s anatomy and metabolic functions by detecting energy emitted from a radioactive substance given to the patient either orally or intravenously. It is used to evaluate the spread of cancer, locate infection, identify blood clots in the lungs and scan the kidney, gallbladder, brain and other organs for abnormalities.

How it works

An intravenous catheter is inserted into a vein in your arm or hand, injecting a radioactive tracer. A gamma camera photographs the organ showing normal absorption or “hot” (dark) and “cold” (light) spots, relative to how the organ is functioning.

What to expect

Nuclear medicine procedures are done on an outpatient basis and have no known side effects or complications associated with them. The majority of people who receive a nuclear medicine exam are able to resume normal activities after the test. Some exams may take a few minutes, while others may require more than one visit. Your physician will discuss the specifics of your exam with you.

Available procedures

Nuclear medicine procedures available at Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas include:

  • Thyroid uptake and scan – This procedure is used to assess the function of your thyroid gland, allowing your radiologist to determine if there are problems. The scan portion determines the shape, size and location of the gland. The uptake portion detects the actual function of the thyroid gland.
  • Lung ventilation and quantitative scan (V/Q) – The lung V/Q scan produces a picture of your lung ventilation and blood flow to the lungs.
  • Myocardial perfusion scan – The two forms of the scan (resting and stress) are used most often to diagnose coronary artery disease. The scans determine which parts of the heart muscle have decreased blood flow under resting or stress conditions.
  • Whole body bone scan – This full-body scan is used to detect abnormalities in your bone tissue. Most often it is used to detect cancer of the bone, but can also detect bone and stress fractures, tumors and infection.