In-Depth Expertise in Nuclear Medicine

Geisinger Holy Spirit offers non-invasive, safe and painless scans that capture precise information for diagnosis.

What is Nuclear Medicine?

Nuclear Medicine – also known as Molecular Imaging – provides detailed pictures of what is happening inside the body. While CT, ultrasound and x-ray tests take pictures of physical anatomy, Nuclear Medicine shows how the body is functioning at the molecular and cellular level.

Our Nuclear Medicine Services

At Geisinger Holy Spirit, many types of nuclear scans are used to evaluate many different bodily functions:

  • Heart (MUGA)
  • Gallbladder (HIDA scan)
  • Kidney (Renal scan)
  • Thyroid (Thyroid uptake and/or scan)
  • Parathyroid (Parathyroid scan)
  • Stomach (Gastric emptying scan)
  • Skeletal conditions (Bone scan)
  • Infectious processes (Indium WBC studies or Gallium scans)
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding (GI bleed scan)
  • Pulmonary blood clots (VQ lung scan)
  • Spread of cancer through the lymphatic system (Sentinel lymph node injection and/or scan)
  • Bile leak after gallbladder removal (HIDA scan)
  • Evaluation of carcinoid tumors (Octreoscan)


Nuclear Medicine is also used to treat thyroid conditions where the thyroid is overactive or producing too many of the thyroid hormones.

How to Prepare for a Nuclear Scan

Preparation for a scan depends on the body system being imaged.

For example, there is no preparation for a bone scan but a very detailed one for thyroid studies. Instructions for preparation are given at the time the study is scheduled.

For comfort, loose-fitting clothing without any metal adornment works best for Nuclear Medicine.

Interpretation of Tests

Completed nuclear scans are interpreted by a radiologist. These physicians spend six months of their four-year residency interpreting Nuclear Medicine. They can then do a one-year fellowship in Nuclear Medicine to become even more proficient in interpreting these scans.

How Does Nuclear Medicine Work?

In Nuclear Medicine, small amounts of radiopharmaceuticals are used to help produce images. These are isotopes (radioactive material) labeled with particular minerals or compounds used by the body system being imaged. Imaging is done with scanners, which are called Gamma Cameras because the ray given off by the isotope is a gamma ray. The scanner sees the ray and produces an image that is saved for the physician’s interpretation.

To find out more about Nuclear Medicine at Geisinger Holy Spirit, call 717-972-4900.