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Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine patient preparing for a scan

Cook Children's Nuclear Medicine program uses the latest in equipment and technology to perform both diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Our physicians and technologists have a wealth of experience in achieving pediatric nuclear medicine scans of the highest quality and accuracy.

In this specialized exam, the patient will first be given a small amount of radiopharmaceutical (medicine that contains a small amount of radioactive material). This medicine is given to the patient through a tiny tube (an IV) to help target and illuminate specific organs, bones or other tissues in order to see how they are functioning.

If your doctor has recommended or scheduled your child for an exam, we have provided the following information to help you better prepare your child. These documents are available for download and are printable. They also offer contact information for any questions you may have about your child's procedure.

Bone Scan →

Gammagrafía Ósea →

Renal Scan with Diuretic →

Gammagrafía renal con diurético →

MIBG Scan →

Gammagrafía con MIBG →

What to expect

A nuclear medicine scanner is a large doughnut-shaped machine with a table that slides through the middle of the scanner. Your child will lie on the table and the radiopharmaceutical is given. Then the table will move into position so that the scanner can begin. Nuclear medicine procedures can vary in length from 30 minutes to a few hours. Part of this time is waiting for the radiopharmaceutical to be absorbed by the body. While the scanner is capturing images a TV/DVD is available for children to watch.

In addition to routine nuclear medicine exams, we also offer PET-CT imaging and 1-131 metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG), a clinical research trial for neuroblastoma patients.

I-131 metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG)

MIBG is a clinical research trial providing an experimental radioactive isotope that concentrates in neuroblastoma tumors and metastases. The treatment delivers targeted therapy directly to cancer cells.

MIBG I-131 has a significantly larger dose of radioactivity than an MIBG scan used just for diagnostic imaging. Children receiving this therapy stay in a special lead-lined suite to minimize radiation exposure to the family and staff caring for the patient. Cook Children's MIBG therapy suite was the first of its kind in Texas.

What's happening in MIBG Therapy? Get the latest info


We offer PET-CT imaging to assist in the diagnosis, staging and monitoring of cancers and identifying the source of seizures in epilepsy patients.

Cook Children's is the only facility in the South and the second in the country to use 18F DOPA in combination with a PET-CT to diagnose focal lesions in children with congenital hyperinsulinism. The 18F DOPA in combination with a PET-CT scan offers the fastest available testing and provides a map to guide the surgeon to the focal point, allowing for resection with precision accuracy.

Want to know more about the use of 18F DOPA and PET-CT in the treatment of congenital hyperinsulinism? You'll find it here

We're here to help

Referring physicians: To schedule your patient (inpatient/outpatient), call 682-885-4076. You'll find referral forms on our appointments page.

Patients: For questions regarding your child's appointment, to reschedule or cancel, please call 682-885-4076. Schedulers are available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Your doctor's office may have given you some directions to follow. If these directions are not followed correctly, your child's appointment may be delayed or rescheduled.

Preparing for your visit

If your child has been referred to us for a test and/or procedure, we will contact to you to schedule an appointment. At that time you will also be given any special instructions necessary to prepare for your visit, depending on what services your child will be receiving.