ORMC Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear Medicine uses small amounts of radioactive materials, called radiopharmaceuticals, to treat and diagnose disease. At ORMC and UF Health Cancer Center at Orlando Health, we offer a variety of scans and procedures to help you and your health care provider get the care, treatment, and information you need. Our team of dedicated physicians and specialized healthcare professionals are committed to putting you first, providing the best possible patient care and the life-saving diagnosis you may need.

Services

The scope of Nuclear Medicine Services at ORMC/ UF Health Cancer Center at Orlando Health includes both diagnostic and therapeutic applications:

Diagnostic Services 
Diagnostic Nuclear Medicine tests are used to evaluate function of various organs and/or identify areas of infection or metastases. These are the most common tests done at our facilities. We use multiple imaging technologies including: SPECT/CT, SPECT, PET/CT and planar imaging. The type of scan you receive will depend on your diagnosis. Each scan is tailored to provide optimal imaging based on your specific needs.

Therapeutic Services 
Therapeutic Nuclear Medicine procedures are used to treat various conditions or diseases. These treatments involve consultations with a physician followed by tailored radiopharmaceutical therapy.

Parking and Directions

We offer free parking for all guests in our patient parking garage. This garage is located at 15 West Underwood St. Valet parking is also available for a fee. The entrance to both ORMC and the Cancer Center is directly across from the parking garage and adjacent to the valet area.

Getting to Your Appointment

We have two imaging sites/locations: PET/CT exams are performed at the Cancer Center. All other exams are performed at ORMC. The instructions are slightly different based on which site you are going to:

PET/CT @ the Cancer Center: If you are having a PET/CT exam, please register on the 1st floor of UF Health Cancer Center at Orlando Health at the patient business office. Our PET/CT staff will escort you to the PET/CT area upon completion of your registration.

ORMC: For all other procedures (other than PET/CT), please register on the 3rd floor Patient Business office at ORMC. When your registration is complete you will be escorted to the Nuclear Medicine Department on the 2nd floor of ORMC for your procedure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are nuclear medicine procedures safe?
Nuclear Medicine procedures are non-invasive and very safe. More than 20 million Americans benefit each year from nuclear medicine procedures. The radiation amount used in most nuclear medicine tests is small and comparable to that of an x-ray. Allergic reactions may occur but are extremely rare and mild.

What if I am claustrophobic?
Many claustrophobic patients are able to tolerate our cameras as they are less confining than an MRI or CT. Our technologists are present during the scan and can assist with any needs you may have.

Why I am being asked about my menstrual cycle/ chance of pregnancy/ breastfeeding status?
While nuclear medicine procedures are safe and use low doses of radiation, routine testing is not generally performed on pregnant patients to prevent unnecessary radiation exposure to the fetus. Additionally, if a mother is breastfeeding, there are measures that can be taken to prevent unnecessary radiation exposure to breastfeeding babies.

Can my port be used for the injections?
We prefer to use peripheral IV access when possible for radiopharmaceutical injections in order to provide the best quality exam. We use the smallest possible needle size to provide the least amount of discomfort. If needed, or requested, a port may be used with approval of a physician.

Helpful Resources

Society of Nuclear Medicine
Discover Molecular Imaging
General Nuclear Medicine Information 
PET/CT Imaging Information
Radiation Dose Information

Accreditation

The Nuclear Medicine Department at ORMC / UF Health Cancer Center at Orlando Health was awarded a 3-year term of accreditation in Nuclear Medicine as a result of a recent review by the American College of Radiology (ACR). This accreditation is the most established and widely proven for imaging modalities. The ACR evaluates the qualifications of personnel, equipment, image quality, quality control measures and quality assurance programs.  Our Nuclear Medicine Department at ORMC / UF Health Cancer Center at Orlando Health was awarded this distinction for both PET and CT Imaging. 

Common Exams with Preps for Nuclear Medicine

Bone Scan - This study may be performed to rule out fractures, infections and/or cancer in bones. An injection of the radiopharmaceutical is given in your vein followed by a minimum 3 hour delay between injection and scan. You are able to eat and drink for this test. Total time for procedure is about 5 hours start to finish.

Cardiac Gated Blood Pool Scan (MUGA) - This study evaluates heart function: specifically, Left Ventricle Ejection Fraction (LVEF). An IV will be started for this scan. We withdraw a small amount of blood and mix this with the radiopharmaceutical. After the mixing process, which takes about 30 minutes, your blood is re-injected* and the scan is performed. Total time for procedure is about 1.5 hours start to finish. *(There is an alternative option available to patients who do not receive blood products). You are able to eat and drink as normal for this test.

Cisternogram Study - This study is performed to rule out spinal fluid leakage. A radiopharmaceutical is injected in the lumbar spine. Images are taken over several days.

Gallium Scan - This study is performed to rule out infection or tumor. An IV will be started for the study in order to inject the radiopharmaceutical. Images may be taken over several days.

Gastric Emptying Scan - This study is performed to evaluate time for food to empty from stomach. Please do not eat or drink for 4 hours prior to scan. You will be given eggs and jellied toast to eat upon arrival. Scan takes approximately 4 hours. Please read additional instructions and information regarding medications found here.

Hepatobiliary Scan - This study is performed to evaluate the hepatobiliary system. There are many variations of the Hepatobiliary (HIDA) scan. They may be done with or without ejection fraction (EF) or to assess for sphincter of oddi dysfunction (SOD). For these scans you are asked to not eat or drink anything for four hours prior to appointment.

Hepatobiliary Scan (standard) - This scan is used to evaluate the biliary system. This is a basic evaluation and can be performed on patients both with and without a gallbladder. Test may take 1 to 2 hours.

Hepatobiliary Scan with Ejection Fraction (EF) - This scan is used to evaluate gallbladder function. It is performed using a pharmaceutical to stimulate the gallbladder. This test takes approximately 2 hours.

Hepatobiliary Scan for Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction (SOD) - This test is used to evaluate for possible sphincter of oddi dysfunction. Test takes approximately 2 hours. Labeled White Blood Cell Scan (Leukocyte scan) - This study is performed to rule out infection. An IV will be started for the study. Approximately 60cc of blood will be drawn from you IV. Your blood will then be mixed with a radiopharmaceutical. After the mixing process, which takes about 2-3 hours, your blood is re-injected. Images are performed over 2 days.

Liver/Spleen Scan - This study is performed to evaluate the function of liver and spleen. An injection of the radiopharmaceutical is given in your vein followed by a scan of your liver and spleen. Total time for procedure is approximately 1.5 hours.

Lung Scan - This study is performed to evaluate lung function. An injection of the radiopharmaceutical is given in your vein followed by a scan of your lungs. There is also a breathing portion included in this study. This test takes approximately 1 hour.

Lymphoscintigraphy studies - These studies are performed to identify sentinel lymph nodes within the body. They may be done for breast cancer, oral cavity cancer, or cancer of the skin (melanoma). An injection of the radiopharmaceutical is given near the tumor site. Images are then obtained. For melanoma and oral cancers, images are performed immediately after injection. Breast cancer imaging may be performed between 4 or 24 hours after injection.

Meckel's Diverticulum Scan - This study is used to rule out Meckel's diverticulitis. An injection of the radiopharmaceutical is given in your vein followed by a scan of your abdomen. This test takes approximately 1.5 hours.

MIBG Scan - This study is performed for detection, localization, or follow-up of neuroendocrine cancers. This test requires pretreatment with Iodine. An IV will be started for the study in order to inject the radiopharmaceutical. Images may be taken over several days.

Nuclear Stress Test - This study us used to evaluate blood flow in heart muscle during exercise and rest. The exercise portion is achieved by walking on treadmill or by medication to simulate exercising the heart. Please do not eat or drink anything for 4 hours prior to test. No caffeine for 8 hours before stress test. This length of testing varies from 1 to 2 days based on patient BMI.

Octreoscan - This study is performed for detection, localization, and follow-up of carcinoid tumors. An IV will be started for the study in order to inject the radiopharmaceutical. Images may be taken over several days.

Parathyroid scan - This study is performed to evaluate the parathyroid. An injection of the radiopharmaceutical is given in your vein followed by a scan of your neck area in 2 sessions. This test takes approximately 2.5 hours.
PET/CT Scan - We perform a variety of PET/CT scans for different diagnoses:

  • Total Body - This study is performed for different cancer diagnoses for localization or follow-up of disease.
  • Cardiac - This study is performed to evaluate cardiac function.
  • Brain - This study is performed to evaluate various disorders/disease including tumor, dementia and Alzheimer's.

Prostascint Scan - This study is used to evaluate lymph node involvement in newly diagnosed Prostate cancer or recurrence of prostate disease in those with rising PSA. This study spans several days. On the first day, an IV will be started for the study in order to inject the radiopharmaceutical. On the 5th day, images will be performed. The scanning portion takes approximately 2 hours.

Renal Scan - Routine - This study is performed to evaluate kidney function. An IV will be started for the study in order to inject the radiopharmaceutical with images immediately following. This study takes approximately 1 hour.

Renal Scan with Lasix (washout) - This study evaluates kidney function in cases of hydronephrosis, obstruction due to stones, and/or post stent placement. An IV will be started for the study in order to inject the radiopharmaceutical and maintain hydration. Lasix is also given during study. This study takes approximately one hour.

Renal Scan with Captopril (ACE inhibitor) - This study is performed to evaluate renal function in cases of suspected renal hypertension/ Renal Artery Stenosis. An IV will be started for the study in order to inject the radiopharmaceutical and maintain hydration. Both an ACE inhibitor and Lasix are given during this study. Must be off of ACE inhibitor for 5 days (with the approval of ordering physician). Please do not eat any solid food for 4 hours prior to appointment. This study takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.

Thyroid Uptake and Scan - This study is performed to evaluate thyroid function due to nodules, enlarged gland, hyperthyroidism, and hypothyroidism, among others. The radiopharmaceutical is given orally in pill form. This is a 2 day procedure. Pill is given 1st day and scan is performed 2nd day. Please do not eat 2 hours prior to appointment. Additionally, a low iodine diet should be followed for 2 weeks prior to appointment. Please read additional instructions and information regarding medications found here.

Whole Body Iodine - I 123 - This study is performed to evaluate, localize, or in follow-up for thyroid cancer. The radiopharmaceutical is given orally in pill form. This is a 2 day procedure. A pill is given the 1st day and the scan is performed the 2nd day. Please do not eat 2 hours prior to appointment. Additionally, a low iodine diet should be followed for 2 weeks prior to appointment. Please read additional instructions and information regarding medications found here: Whole Body Iodine - No Thyrogen OR Whole Body Iodine – with Thyrogen.
This scan may be performed with or without Thyrogen. If Thyrogen is utilized, Thyrogen injections are given prior to the I-123 pill (two consecutive days). If patient is having a Whole Body Iodine Scan without Thyrogen, the patient must have a TSH level above 30.

Therapy Procedures - We offer a variety of therapy procedures at our facility including the following:

  • Bexxar Therapy
  • Bone Pain Palliation Therapy
  • Sir-Spheres
  • Thyroid Ablation Therapy
  • Zevalin Therapy