Nuclear medicine is the branch of medicine that involves the administration of radiopharmaceuticals in order to diagnose and treat disease.  The scanner produces images by detecting a small amount of a radioactive tracer in your body, which is either injected, swallowed or inhaled.

The main difference between nuclear medicine and other imaging modalities is that nuclear imaging show how the tissue or organ being scanned is functioning while the traditional systems such as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scan) show only the anatomy or structure.

You need a referral from your doctor to be able to book a appointment for these scans.

Our hybrid multi-slice SPECT-CT is one of the most advanced scanners in New Zealand.

 ‘SPECT' imaging allows us to view nuclear medicine scans in 3-D and multiple different planes, which increases sensitivity and overall accuracy.  The combination with multi-slice CT adds  further diagnostic information by also allowing for very accurate anatomical localization. 

Mercy Radiology's Theranostics and Research team offer Nuclear Medicine therapy, including 177Lutetium PSMA therapy for prostate cancer and 177Lutetium DOTATATE for neuroendocrine tumours and meningiomas. The Mercy theranostics team have experience in experimental and compassionate use of radiopharmaceuticals for therapy and initiate and participate in local and international clinical trials. We can offer consultations to patients with appropriate referrals from specialists or oncologists to discuss therapy options for oncological and non-oncological nuclear medicine therapy. 


Combined Radiology Reporting

We take pride in offering a fully integrated radiology reporting service. This means that all relevant information from other scans e.g. plain radiographs, MRI, ultrasound and CT, is taken into account.


Nuclear imaging is a  safe technique.  It uses  small amounts of radioactive tracers in order to provide unique information about how your body is functioning. The amount of radiation received, is very similar to other X-ray techniques.

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How are the images obtained?

The gamma camera detects the radiation released from the radioactive tracer that has been absorbed in your body. This is what creates the image.

Are there any special preparations I need to follow before my test?

You will receive specific instructions based on the type of scan you are having (for example food and drink restrictions, medicine restrictions, or instructions about whether you need to have a full or empty bladder). Please let the doctor or technologist know if you are pregnant or could be pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding.

What happens during a nuclear medicine test?

The radioactive tracers will be given to you in one of three ways: as an injection in your skin or a vein, breathing in a gas, or by mouth. The technologist will decide the method based on the type of test you are having. Imaging may start immediately after administration of the tracer or you may have to wait for a period of time before imaging can begin. This will be explained to you during booking and again at your appointment. Once imaging begins, the gamma camera may move down your body, rotate around you, or stay in one place.

Are there any risks with having a bone scan?

The Nuclear Medicine bone scan is a safe and routine procedure. Millions of bone scans have been done around the world without complication. The radiation dose used for a bone scan is kept very low, and will not cause harm to the body. The tracer is gone completely from your system in 36 hours. Please notify the technologist before the scan if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.


ACC: No Charge – Specialist Referred only

Private / Insurance: For an estimate of cost, please phone 0800 497 297 or email [email protected] with a copy of your referral.