Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine is a diagnostic imaging tool that uses small amounts of radioactive material to capture images of different organs within the body. 

What is nuclear medicine?

During a nuclear medicine scan, radioactive material is administered, usually by injection, and will accumulate in a specific organ. The radioactive material gives off a signal that is detected by a gamma camera. This creates images which are used to diagnose disease.

While other diagnostic imaging procedures such as Computed Tomography (CT), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and X-rays allow images of physical structures, nuclear medicine scans can help determine how a particular organ functions. For more information on Nuclear Medicine scans visit RadiologyInfo.org.

What are the benefits and risks of a nuclear medicine scan?

For more than 50 years, Nuclear Medicine scans have been performed and provide physicians with detailed images of what is happening in the body at the molecular and cellular level. These images assist with diagnosis and treatment of a disease.

Nuclear medicine procedures use small amounts of radioactive material to create these images. The radiation risk involved in these procedures is minimal when compared to the potential benefits of the diagnosis from the scan.

Please speak with your referring physician if you have concerns about the risks versus the benefits of the scan he/she has ordered for you.

Can I have an allergic reaction to radioactive material?

Allergic reactions to radioactive material are extremely rare. Nuclear medicine scans may require the use of additional medications which carry small risks of allergic reaction. Please inform your technologist of your allergy history prior to your scan.

Nuclear medicine radioactive materials are not the same as the contrast material used for Computed Tomography (CT) or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans.  It is safe for patients who have had previous allergic reactions to CT and MRI contrast material to have nuclear medicine scans.

Is it safe for me to have a nuclear medicine scan while pregnant or breastfeeding?

Let your physician know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Nuclear medicine scans are not routinely performed while pregnant. If you think you may be pregnant, please cancel your exam via MyChart

or by calling the patient scheduling office at 905-883-1212 ext. 2004 from Richmond Hill or 905-417-2000 ext. 2004 from Vaughan.

Please discuss the potential risks and options with your referring physician prior to your appointment. Your physician will examine your medical condition and decide on whether it is beneficial for you to have a nuclear medicine exam performed while pregnant.

  • When you arrive for your exam, inform your technologist that you are pregnant. Your technologist will take precautions to decrease the radiation exposure to your baby
  • If you are breastfeeding and are scheduled for a nuclear medicine scan you will need to stop breastfeeding for some time after the scan.

How do I prepare for a nuclear medicine scan?

You will receive a reminder notification a few days prior to your scheduled appointment. Please ensure you confirm or cancel through the automated system.

Arrival times vary depending on your appointment type. You will be advised by the Scheduling Office at the time of booking on your arrival time.

  • Please follow any preparations provided when you schedule your appointment carefully as they can affect the accuracy of your scan results
  • A reminder, Mackenzie Health is a scent-free environment
  • Please do not wear any jewelry or other metal objects close to the area being scanned; you may be advised to change into a hospital gown.

Referring a patient

A completed Diagnostic Imaging requisition form must be completed by a physician’s office and can be faxed to 905-883-0772.

Please ensure the requisition form includes the referring physician’s information and signature, patient’s information and patient clinical history.

To obtain a copy of the general Diagnostic Imaging requisition form, visit the referral and consent forms page.

How do I find out my appointment date and time?

Please allow three to five business days for a completed requisition form to be reviewed and processed by Mackenzie Health.

A representative from Mackenzie Health Scheduling Office will call the you to advise:

  • Appointment date, time and location
  • Arrival time
  • Associated preparation instructions for the test

If you receive a voicemail from the Scheduling Office, please call 905-883-1212 ext. 2004 from Richmond Hill or 905-417-2000 ext. 2004 from Vaughan to complete the pre-registration process.

You can also log in to MyChart to view appointment dates/times, confirm your upcoming appointments and complete the pre-registration process using the eCheck-In service.

How long does a nuclear medicine scan take?

Nuclear medicine scans vary in length depending on the type of scan. Appointments may take from 60 minutes up to six hours. While the appointments in nuclear medicine can be quite long, you will not spend all of that time being scanned by the imaging camera. Due to the way radioactive materials travel through the body, a waiting time is often required before images can be taken.

How do I reschedule my appointment?

Please provide 48 hours’ notice if you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment. You can cancel your appointment online using MyChart but will need to reschedule by calling the Scheduling Office at 905-883-1212 ext. 2004 from Richmond Hill or 905-417-2000 ext. 2004 from Vaughan.

How do I get a copy of my images?

Mackenzie Health has partnered with PocketHealth to give patients online access to view and share their images from our hospital and other participating organizations at a reduced fee.  This includes x-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans, MRI scans and other medical imaging results.

Log in to your MyChart account to access this and additional features including eCheck-In, lab and test results, preparation instructions for upcoming appointments and more!

What are the benefits to accessing my images online?

By accessing your images online, you can:

  • Save time as there’s no need to visit the hospital to obtain a CD
  • Save money on parking and reduced fees
  • Share your images online directly with your requesting physician
  • View images from our and other participating hospitals and x-ray clinics

To learn more, please visit the MyChart FAQs section of our website.

Can I come to the hospital and pick up my images in person?

You can request a CD copy of your health records from Health Information Services at Mackenzie Health for a small fee. Please visit our Health Information Services page for more information.

How do I sign up for a MyChart account?

Log in to your MyChart Account, visit the Test Results page and follow the link to our partner site, PocketHealth.  From there, you can access your images in three easy steps:

  1. Enter your patient information, including name, date of birth and health card number
  2. Consent to the terms and conditions of the services being provided
  3. Complete a secure payment of $5

What will I have online access to?

If you sign up for MyChart, you will have online access to:

  • Check in online 7 days prior to your next appointment using our eCheck-In* service
  • View past and upcoming appointments
  • View preparation instructions for upcoming appointments
  • Complete pre-visit questionnaires*
  • Cancel appointments*
  • Update your demographics at any time (includes address, phone number, family physician, and more)
  • View lab and test results
  • View and share Diagnostic images including X-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans, MRI scans and more
  • Clinical notes on your care and treatment
  • Track your health*
  • Access your list of conditions or medical concerns diagnosed at Mackenzie Health as well as your prescribed medications and known allergies

*Available for select clinics

You can register for MyChart when scheduling an appointment or you can self-sign up online at mychart.mackenziehealth.ca.

If your appointment is at Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital:

  • You may park in one of the visitors parking lots (North or South) and make your way to the C-Wing or D-Wing entrance.
  • Please allow yourself extra time during peak hours, as finding parking can take longer than expected. If possible, consider taking public transit, or getting dropped off by a family member or friend.

If your appointment is at Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital:

  • You may park in the visitor parking lots at the west of the building. 
  • Access to the hospital is through the Main Entrance at the south side of the building (6:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.) or through the west of the hospital (24/7 access). Drop-off  and pick-up is available at both entrances.

View more information on parking services.

Once inside the hospital, please check in at Patient Registration using our self-serve kiosks. 

Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital

Nuclear Medicine
C-Wing, Level 1
10 Trench Street
Richmond Hill, ON L4C 4Z3
Local to Richmond Hill: 905-883-1212 ext. 2004
Local to Vaughan: 905-832-4554 ext. 2004
Fax: 905- 883-0772
View the map for this location 

Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital

3200 Major Mackenzie Dr W
Vaughan ON L6A 4Z3
Local from Vaughan: 905-417-2000
Local from Richmond Hill: 905-883-1212
View the map for this location