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Nuclear Medicine Physics Additional Services

Gamma Cameras


The Nuclear Medicine Physics service is based at Queen Alexandra Hospital. In addition to a comprehensive range of imaging and non-imaging diagnostic tests and radionuclide therapies, we provide services to other departments throughout the hospital, details of these are listed below.

Support for Nuclear Medicine Imaging Services

The arrival of new technology and radiopharmaceuticals has paved the way for more advanced and dedicated technology, as such the
department is equipped with the state of art imaging facilities; one SPECT/CT, 2 SPECT gamma cameras and multi modality image processing

The main services offered to Nuclear Medicine by Nuclear Medicine Physics are:

  • Quality control and troubleshooting on Nuclear Medicine gamma cameras
  • Contribution to imaging and non-imaging protocols and processing
  • Performing radiation protection duties and waste management
  • SPECT gamma camera computers and networking

Quality Control of the Gamma Cameras

Nuclear Medicine Physics oversaw the acceptance testing of the Gamma Cameras during installation and are currently responsible for the routine quality control procedures that are carried out on a on all the Gamma Cameras within the department. A number of tests
including Centre Of Rotation (COR), Uniformity calibration, Spatial Resolution are performed to assess the suitably of the system for
clinical use.

Imaging and Non-Imaging protocols and processing.

All procedures and protocols for imaging in Nuclear Medicine have been approved by the Medical Physics Experts (MPE) in conjunction
with the Nuclear Medicine Consultant. The Nuclear Medicine Physics team is also involved in the evaluation of image processing software and in creating protocols for routine image processing.

Tomographic Imaging

Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) is a three-dimensional imaging technique where data is acquired from many angles around the patient. This data is then reconstructed to produce images in three-dimensions. Nuclear Medicine Physics is involved in the set-up of image processing protocols for SPECT imaging and in testing the acquisition and processing of data e.g. cardiac gated SPECT to investigate the motion of the left ventricular walls, and to measure the left ventricular ejection fraction.

Along with the Nuclear Medicine department here at QAH, we provide scientific and technical support to external Nuclear Medicine departments through contractual agreements.



Radionuclide Calibrators

There are numbers of top of the range radionuclide calibrators in the department. Radionuclide calibrators are used to measure gamma emitting radioactive substances that will be administered to patients. Nuclear Medicine Physics is responsible for performing annual accuracy and linearity tests and trouble shooting of the all calibrators that are located in NM, NMP, and radiopharmacy.

Gamma/Beta Counters

The sample counters are used to measure the level of radioactivity in patient samples such as blood or urine, following administration of a radioactive substance. The radioactivity used can either be a beta emitter or a gamma emitter and the department has different sample counters for each. These sample counters are used regularly to analyse radioactive biological sample, ie, blood and urine for GFR and C14 tests. The Nuclear Medicine Physics team is responsible for performing routine tests on these counters to ensure their functionality and accuracy.

Support for Breast Sentinel Lymph Node Probe

Breast sentinel lymph node biopsy is a procedure to determine whether breast cancer has spread to lymph nodes. The sentinel node is the first lymph node to receive drainage from the tumour site. Sentinel node biopsy procedures involve an injection of a radioisotope, technetium-99m at the tumour site. The patient is then imaged using a gamma camera to locate the node, and surgery is performed after imaging, using a gamma probe to detect the radioactive node(s).

DXA Scanner

Bone Densitometry (DXA)

The bone densitometry service of PHT is part of Nuclear Medicine Physics. It runs a Hologic Discovery A DXA scanner.

About 60% of the referrals come directly from GPs in the local area. The remaining patients are internal referrals from Consultants within the Trust.

The appointment normally takes 20 minutes, this includes taking a detailed history relevant to their condition and performing the scan. This is a very quick process with a modern scanner like ours. If necessary additional tests such as a detailed examination of the spine (an VFA) can be performed.

The test results are examined and reported on by the chief technologist of consultant as necessary and a detailed report and recommendations fro treatment are provided for GPs. Internal referrals receive a less detailed report but can get advice from the consultant.

Contact Info: Alison Pritt  Telephone: 02392 286 000 Ext 4139


Research and Development

The section is pursuing to carry out applied R&D all the time to keep up with the developments in technology and also the radiation protection legislation (IRR99 and IRMER). These processes are integral to maintaining quality in service delivery. As part of the section commitment and the department objective under the Clinical Governance requirement, members of the section have been actively involved in, and contributed to R&D.

The section has close collaboration with the University of Surrey in research, teaching and training capacities. This includes joint research collaboration (PhD students), plus lecturing on the Medical Physics MSc course and contributing to projects and training of MSc students.

Area of research interest and activities are: Imaging probe, PET/MRI application in Prostate cancer, Fast SPECT, Motion correction for GTTV and Gut drug therapy , Drug response therapy (pre and post treatment), Quantitative and Qualitative imaging and optimisation utilising 3D digitised phantoms and optics in cancer response to therapy.


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Last updated - 16 August 2019
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