Nuclear medicine

Nuclear medicine is the branch of medical imaging that uses radiopharmaceuticals to examine the functioning and structure of organs and tissue. The radiopharmaceuticals are injected, swallowed or inhaled and absorbed by the body. The radioactive element emits radiation (gamma rays) that are detected by a special device. The device records the radiation, then a computer uses the data to form an image.

A nuclear medicine imaging test may be used to:

  • Check the structure and functioning of tissues or organs, like the brain, thyroid, lungs, heart, liver, spleen, kidneys and bones
  • Detect disease in organs or bones
  • Find tumours, especially in bones and the thyroid
  • Determine whether a cancer has spread to other organs and tissues
  • Ascertain whether a cancer treatment has been effective

How do I access the services?

The test request is sent by the individual’s physician to the booking department at Hull Hospital or Gatineau Hospital. The request is then validated by nuclear medicine staff and referred to the facility at which the test can be done.

The booking department will contact you to schedule an appointment.

What to expect?

  • Medical imaging technicians will perform the test, which may last between 15 minutes and a few hours.
  • A radiopharmaceutical will be given prior to the test (injected, swallowed or inhaled).
  • Depending on the type of test, you will be seated or lying on a specially designed table. You will be asked to stay very still during the test, as any movement can distort the images.
  • After the test the radioactive material quickly ceases to have any effect. It is eliminated from the body in urine or stool (feces). Depending on the type of radiopharmaceutical used, it may take a few hours to a few days for it to be completely eliminated from the body.
  • Drinking fluids after the procedure helps to eliminate the radiopharmaceutical from the body.

Detailed information on preparations for and conduct of the test is given on the detachable part of the request form that your physician will give you. You will be reminded of that information when the appointment is made


Where and when
are services provided?

Gatineau Hospital
909 La Vérendrye Blvd.
(ground floor, station 8)

Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
(except statutory holidays)

Hull Hospital
116 Lionel-Émond Blvd.
(2nd floor)

Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
(except statutory holidays)