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Nuclear Medicine Imaging at UPMC

What Are Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging and Theranostics?

Nuclear medicine imaging:

  • Uses small, safe amounts of radioactive tracers to take pictures of organs and tissue.
  • Differs from other imaging tests because it shows how organs function rather than how they look.
  • Helps doctors diagnose and treat a range of diseases, including cancer and heart disease.


  • Uses therapeutics and diagnostics to treat a tumor.
  • Combines using one radioactive drug to make a diagnosis and a second radioactive drug to deliver therapy to treat a tumor.

Find an imaging location near you

What Nuclear Imaging Tests Do We Offer?

Before Your Nuclear Imaging Test

If you're claustrophobic or fear enclosed spaces, talk to your doctor before the day of your test. They can prescribe mild sedation to help you relax during the procedure.

Before your nuclear imaging test starts:

  • Tell your imaging technologist if you're pregnant or think you might be pregnant. Radiation can be harmful to an unborn baby.
  • The tech will ask you questions about your health and any past surgeries.
  • You'll also have a chance to ask any questions about the test.
  • You'll put on a hospital gown and take off any jewelry or metal.

How Do I Prep for My Nuclear Imaging Test?

Your doctor will give you details on how to prep based on the type of test you're having.

We've listed some standard steps for each nuclear imaging test, so you know what to expect.