Department of Nuclear Medicine and PET

How we can help you?

We provide a wide range of Nuclear Medicine tests and therapies for adults and children. As we provide services to the Sydney Children’s Hospital, your child will be in a child-friendly environment and will be looked after by staff who are experienced in looking after children, including administering injections. 

Nuclear Medicine and PET imaging involves giving you a very small amount of a radioactive tracer (an injection) and using a special camera to take images of your body. This helps us to determine how well your organs are working and to diagnose a wide range of illnesses, for example heart disease, blood clots in lungs, bone infections, sports injuries, and assessment of cancer. The tests are safe and the imaging is painless.The injected tracer is not iodine-based and allergic reactions are extremely rare.

We are accredited to provide a full range of Nuclear Medicine and PET services and are approved to train Nuclear Medicine Technologists, Specialist Doctors, Physicists and Radiopharmaceutical Scientists.

Some of the more common procedures we perform include:

  • Heart scans
  • Kidney scans
  • Bone scans
  • Stomach, bowel, biliary and liver scans
  • Lung scans
  • Thyroid and parathyroid scans
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans
  • Radio-iodine thyroid therapy.

Our Department is staffed by a team of Nuclear Medicine Specialists, Junior Doctors, Nuclear Medicine Technologists, Nurses, Radiopharmaceutical Scientists, Physicists and Clerical Staff.

We work in partnership with your Doctors, The Prince of Wales Hospital and Community Health Services, The Royal Women’s Hospital, The Sydney Children’s Hospital and Sydney/Sydney Eye Hospitals.

You will need a referral letter from a Medical Practitioner (your GP or Specialist) to use our service. The referral needs to include a brief history of your health, what procedure or test they are requesting and why.

You can book an appointment over the phone by calling us on 9382 2200, by fax on 9382 2235, by email on seslhd-powhnm@health.nsw.gov.au or in person at our reception. Please provide your contact number, as we need to call you the day before the scan to confirm your appointment.

We will do our best to schedule your preferred appointment time as soon as possible. In most instances an appointment will be available within a couple of days, however, due to the nature of the tracer that we inject, we may not be able to be completely flexible.

If you need to change or cancel your appointment please telephone us on 9382 2200.

How do I prepare for my test?

Many of our procedures do not require any special preparation, but you will need to fast (not eat or drink) for some scans. In addition, some of the tests need you to have special preparation, for example to stop your regular medication or to take additional medication.  We will give you the instructions for your particular scan when we make your booking. Please contact our Department if you are not clear what you will need to do to prepare for your test.

What do I need to bring?

  • Your referral letter from your GP or Specialist
  • Medicare card
  • Health Care Card and/or concession card (if you have one)
  • Private Health Insurance card (if applicable/if you want to use it)
  • Adverse drug alert card (if you have one)
  • Previous X-ray films, CT and MRI films or discs, any other test result or reports related to your current health problem
  • Medicines you need to take while you are here
  • A list of medicines you are currently taking (or the boxes), including medicines you are taking without a prescription, such as herbal supplements and vitamins
  • Glasses, hearing aid, walking frame if you use them

Will I need an injection for my test?

Majority of the scans require an injection of tracer into your vein by using a very small needle (butterfly needle). For more complex scans (for example a heart scan or a PET scan), we will need to place a needle into your vein. Our staff is highly skilled in these injections, including injecting children.

Can I drive after the test?

You are able to drive and go about all your normal activities after the test, unless you have been given any sedatives. If you have been given sedatives you will not be able to drive for 24 hours and must arrange for a responsible adult to take you home after your test.

When will my results be available?

Most of the scans are reported on the same day and your final results are usually available within 24 hours after the completion of your scan. Your results are posted or faxed to your referring doctor.  You will need to contact your referring doctor to find out your results.

More information about my PET scan

See these FAQ about your PET Scan

    Please let us know if you need an interpreter when you make your booking. You can contact us by telephoning the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 131 450. Tell the operator what language you speak. You can then ask the interpreter to set up a telephone conversation between you, an interpreter, and our department.

    Our department is actively involved in training, education and research. We are a teaching hospital and you may be asked to be involved in research or for a trainee to be present at your appointment. You have a right to say no to participating in any research and to not want any observers. If you do so, this will have no impact in any way on the services we will provide.