Nuclear medicine

In nuclear medicine, functions of the body are made visible

In nuclear medicine, radioisotopes are deployed to enable the visualisation of different organs and to perform functional examinations. Certain radioisotopes can also be used for therapeutic purposes.

Nuclear medicine at Diagnostik München mainly uses the artificially-produced radioisotope technetium 99m (99mTc), which is very short-lived due to its half-life of around 6 hours and is injected intravenously.

The nuclear radiation emitted by the radioisotope is captured by a special camera (gamma camera), which converts this radiation into electrical impulses and generates an image (scintigraph) from it while obtaining functional data via a computer system (functional scintigraphy).

To achieve particularly high resolution, cross-sectional images can also be generated. During this, the patient lies on an examining bed and the gamma camera rotates around the part of the body under examination (SPECT scan).

Prof. Dr. Thomas Henzler, Dr. Axel Wagenmann

The following nuclear medicine tests are available:

A scan to diagnose inflammation (LeukoScan) requires no further precautionary measures. After administration of the radioisotope, two images will be taken: one after four hours and another after 24 hours.

During an adrenal gland scan for tumour diagnostics, please note the following:

  • In order to inhibit the thyroid’s uptake of iodine, Irenat must be taken to block it.
  • Certain medicines must be discontinued between one and three weeks before the scan. It is essential to consult with your doctor
  • After administering the radioisotope, three images will be taken: after 4, 24 and 48 hours.

A scan for further evaluation of the thyroid, cold thyroid nodules and the parathyroid gland takes from two to three hours. No special precautionary measures are necessary.

A brain scintigraphy (DaT scan) takes about 4 hours. It is used to confirm a suspected diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease or for differentiation of essential tremor. Before the brain scintigraphy the radioisotope iodine-123-FP-CIT will be administered.

In the lead-up to a brain scintigraphy, please note the following:

  • Bring any pre-existing MRI and CT scans of your brain with you.
  • A brain scintigraphy is usually covered by statutory health insurance.
  • In order to inhibit the thyroid’s uptake of iodine, Irenat must be taken one day before the scan. We will administer Irenat to you before the scan.
  • The following medications must be discontinued before a brain scintigraphy: modafinil, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), methylphenidate, bupropion cathinone, dextroamphetamine, mazindol, phentermine, norpseudoephedrine, metamfepramone, amphetamine, metamphetamine, cocaine, benzatropine, sertraline, hyoscine/scopomaline, phenylephrine, ketamine, pethidine, fentanyl, isoflurane.

In the event of a pathological finding, a further brain scintigraphy will be carried out in order to differentiate Parkinson’s disease from multiple system atrophy. This is where the radioisotope iodine-123-FP-CIT is deployed. In the lead-up to this scan, the following points should be noted:

  • Bring any pre-existing MRI and CT scans of your brain with you.
  • The cost of this re-examination is generally not covered by statutory health insurance. It can however be used as a self-payer service.
  • In order to inhibit the thyroid’s uptake of iodine, Irenat must be taken one day before the scan.
  • The following medications must be discontinued before a brain scintigraphy: dopamine agonists, antipsychotics including metoclopramide, cinnarizine, amphetamine, flunarizine and methylphenidate.

Heart scintigraphy with SPECT, also known as myocardial scintigraphy, takes from four to five hours. It is important that you plan your time accordingly for this appointment. There are also further things to note in the lead-up to the scan:

  • In order to optimise the image quality, you must not eat anything for at least three hours before the heart scintigraphy scan. Drinking, except for beverages containing caffeine, is permitted.
  • Betablockers must be discontinued at least 24 hours before the scan. 
Nitrate and calcium agonists must be discontinued the evening before.
  • In the 48 hours leading up to the scan you should not take any medications containing theophylline (e.g. Bronchoretard, Euphylong).
  • If on hand, please bring the results of your stress ECG test and cardiac catherisation with you.

At Diagnostik München we offer bone scans for sections of the body or for the whole body. Depending on the issue, the bone scan will be performed as multiphase scintigraphy and SPECT.

Please note the following in the context of a bone scan:

  • You are able to eat and drink as normal.
  • When investigating a loosening of a prosthesis, please bring an up-to-date X-ray and an operative report where applicable
  • The scan takes between three and six hours.
  • To optimise the contrast medium, you will be asked to drink 1ltr of water before the final image.

Before performing a thyroid scan you will be intravenously injected with the radiopharmaceutical (technetium 99m). The image will be taken after a waiting time of about 20 minutes.

Before a thyroid scan please note the following:

  • For six to eight weeks before a thyroid scan, avoid excessive intake of iodine (e.g. due to an iodine-containing X-ray contrast medium during a CT scan or iodine-containing antiseptic after an operation).
  • Consult your doctor if you are taking anti-thyroid drugs (carbimazole or thiamazole).
  • Bring up-to-date thyroid laboratory values with you to the scan.
  • You are able to eat and drink as normal before a thyroid scan.

Before any PET-CT scan, a doctor will undertake a detailed discussion with you and answer any questions that you have. After the medical consultation, your blood sugar will be measured. When the scan is performed, there must be a distinct lack of sugar in the body of the patient, therefore a blood sugar threshold of 150mg/dL should not be exceeded. 
Subsequently, the radioactive sugar solution will then be injected into a vein. Following this approximately 60 minutes must be spent in a ‘relaxation room’ to allow the substance to spread throughout your body. It is essential that physical activity is avoided during this time, as this would allow the radioactive sugar to accumulate in the muscles, complicating the diagnosis. After this, the images will be taken by the PET-CT scanner. Scanning the entire body takes approximately 30-60 minutes.

Detailed information can be found here.

Our Experts


Dr. Axel Wagenmann

Managing Director & Head of Nuclear Medicine

Specialist in diagnostic radiology and nuclear medicine

Dr. Dr. Tibor Vag

Nuclear Medicine & Radiology

Specialist in radiology and nuclear medicine

Dr. Dr. Tibor Vag

Lidia Helena Jablonski

Nuclear Medicine & Radiology

Specialist in diagnostic radiology and nuclear medicine

Dr. Dipl.-Psych. Christine Hirsch

Nuclear Medicine & Radiology

Specialist in radiology and nuclear medicine