Nuclear Medicine

​Abou​t Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear Medic​​ine has been around since the beginning of the 1900s and is a branch of medicine that uses radioactivity for diagnosis or therapy.

Unlike x-rays, CT and MRI scans that give structural information, Nuclear Medicine imaging demonstrates the function of an organ or organ system by monitoring the passage, accumulation or excretion of a radiopharmaceutical (a radioactive pharmaceutical).

To perform a Nuclear Medicine scan, the radiopharmaceutical is first administered to the patient, usually intravenously. Depen​​ding on the type of scan, the pictures may be taken immediately and/or after a period of time during which the pharmaceutical localises in the target organ or system. 

Many injuries or disease processes tend to effect the function of an organ before the structure is altered. Nuclear Medicine plays an essential role in helping with the early diagnosis of a wide variety of diseases and conditions, which in turn can make treatment more timely and effective.

Specialist services provided by the Christchurch Hospital Nuclear Medicine Department include; Diagnostic Imaging, Radiopharmacy and Radionuclide Therapies


Diagnostic Imaging

How are the images taken?


Nuclear Medicine Procedures

Also referred to as; Nuclear Medicine Scan, Scintigraphy, Isotope Study or Radionuclide Imaging.


PET Scans

The Christchurch Radiology Group PET/CT scanning facility is located at Southern Cross Radiology.


Radionuclide Therapies

Radioiodine (Iodine-131) Therapy, Strontium-89 Therapy, Phosphorus-32 Therapy.


FAQ's about Nuclear Medicine

Frequently Asked Questions



Referral Guidelines - Hospital, Private Specialists & GPs. Availability of procedures.

Page last reviewed: 10 March 2015