Nuclear medicine tests use drugs with small amounts of radiation in them called radiopharmaceuticals. These are also known as radionuclides or radioisotopes.
For most Nuclear Medicine tests, patients have the radioactive substance injected into them. But for some tests, patients are given something to eat or drink or gas to breathe in with the radioactive substance in.
None of these things are more painful than if the material was not radioactive. For example, an injection will feel like a sharp scratch.
Most people will then be placed under a large camera called a gamma camera to image the radioactive substance in your body. This camera does not completely enclose the patient and you will be able to see around it. The camera will move close to you but will not touch you. If it does touch you for any reason, some detectors will cause it to move away from you.
Some Nuclear Medicine tests involve taking a blood sample instead of using the gamma camera. The blood samples are then tested.
Nuclear Medicine tests often give us different information to Radiology. Nuclear Medicine focuses on how organs are working.