Nuclear Medicine

Photo of a patient getting a nuclear scan. St. Mary’s General Hospital operates the Kitchener-Waterloo Regional Nuclear Medicine Program, where service is offered out of two locations; St. Mary’s General Hospital (1st floor) and Grand River Hospital (2nd floor). A volunteer will be happy to direct you when you arrive.

Your privacy is important to us. In compliance with provincial privacy legislation, we are committed to protecting your personal health information. As part of your care plan, we may need to contact you by telephone or voice mail with information relating to your appointment.

Nuclear Medicine plays an important role in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Nuclear medicine procedures are helpful to a broad range of medical specialties, from pediatrics to cardiology to oncology. There are nearly one hundred different nuclear medicine imaging procedures available.

What Is Nuclear Medicine?

Nuclear medicine is a diagnostic service that uses very small amounts of radioactive materials or radiopharmaceuticals to diagnose and treat disease. Radiopharmaceuticals are substances that travel to specific organs, bones, or tissues. The radiopharmaceuticals used in nuclear medicine emit gamma rays that can be detected externally by special types of cameras (gamma cameras or Positron emission tomography (PET) cameras). These cameras work in conjunction with computers to form images that provide information about the function of the organ being imaged. The amount of radiation from a nuclear medicine procedure is very low and can be comparable to that received during a diagnostic x-ray. The radioactive materials used have very short half-lives, which means that they decay rapidly and are no longer considered radioactive.

Location of Nuclear Medicine

The Nuclear Medicine Department at St. Mary’s is located on the first floor of the hospital. When you arrive at the hospital, please stop at the information desk for directions and a volunteer will be happy to escort you.

The Nuclear Medicine Department at Grand River Hospital is located on the 2nd floor next to Medical Imaging.

Hours of Operation

  • St. Mary’s General Hospital Site, 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Grand River Hospital Site, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Scheduling Procedures

Appointments are scheduled through physician referral only. Your physician will:

  • Complete the necessary requisition to order the test (similar to writing a prescription for medication).
  • Fax, mail, or send the requisition with each patient.
  • Call us to schedule a test.

If you are unable to attend your appointment, or you need to re-schedule, please call the department of nuclear medicine at 519-749-6495.

Request for Images

Perhaps your physician has asked you for a copy of your nuclear medicine images. What do you do next?

Nuclear Medicine can be reached at 519-749-6495. After you call, we will have a copy of your images available for you to pick up. If possible, we ask that you give us 24 hours notice. The images can be picked up between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. weekdays. We will ask you to complete a release form. This form is necessary for your security as well as our records.

Learn more about your procedure

What You Should Know

Your doctor has referred you or a family member for a test in the nuclear medicine department because the information obtained from the test will be important in determining the diagnosis and treatment of the medical problem you may have.

You probably have a number of questions such as:

  • What is a nuclear medicine test?
  • What preparation is needed for the test?
  • What will happen during the test?

This section provides information on some of the more commonly performed diagnostic and therapeutic nuclear medicine procedures.

The material presented here is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for discussion between you and your physician. If you require more information about a nuclear medicine procedure, please consult your physician or the nuclear medicine department.

If you think you might be pregnant or are nursing a baby, please contact the department prior to having your procedure.

For more information contact
Christine Runnquist
Director, Diagnostic Imaging and Regional Nuclear Medicine
519-749-6578 ext. 6496

Information for physician referral can be found here.