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What is Nuclear Radiology?

Nuclear Radiology, also called Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, uses small amounts of radioactive materials to diagnose or treat disease. These materials are sometimes called radiopharmaceuticals or tracers.

The radiopharmaceuticals are typically given by mouth or with an IV.  They can also be given through a urinary catheter or inhaled. The route of administration will depend on the exam that your doctor has ordered. The radiopharmaceutical goes to the part of the body that needs to be imaged and produces radiation, which is detected by a special camera called a gamma camera. The camera creates images from the emitted radiation that may help diagnose a disease.

All radiopharmaceuticals are carefully tested and the risk of side effects is extremely small. Radiation exposure from Nuclear Radiology procedures is minimized by strictly adhering to ALARA (As Low as Reasonably Achievable). Click here for more information.     

Nuclear imaging often can help identify disease in its earliest stages and determine if a child is responding to treatment. Images give doctors information about the function and structure of the body that often cannot be gotten from other tests.


How do I find out results of my child's test or procedure?

The technologist cannot tell you the results of the test. A pediatric radiologist will analyze the images and provide a report of the findings to your child’s doctor. Your child’s doctor will then notify you of the results.


Why choose Texas Children’s?

The board-certified pediatric Nuclear Radiology physicians at Texas Children’s are among the most experienced in the nation in Nuclear Radiology diagnosis and treatment. This translates to a higher level of care than that found at most hospitals.

We are committed to your child’s safety, evidenced by our specialized equipment and methods. This means that we use the lowest doses possible to deliver the best results in diagnosis and treatment.

Our staff is specially trained in the unique needs of children and teens. This includes dedicated child-life specialists who can help your child relax before and during the procedures. In addition, our child-friendly environments puts parents and children at ease. In particular, the Philips Ambient Experience uses sounds and light to create a soothing environment.

Nuclear Radiology is available at Texas Children’s Main Campus – Texas Medical Center in the Legacy Tower, Level 5.

If you want to make an appointment, call 832-TC4-XRAY (832-824-9729). An order from your doctor is needed to make an appointment. If you have questions about your scheduled appointment, call 832 826-8525.