Referring Providers - Nuclear Medicine


What are nuclear medicine and molecular imaging?

Nuclear imaging is an imaging specialty that that uses very small amount of radiotracers or “radiopharmaceuticals” to create images of the human body. Nuclear medicine scans provide functional information and frequently complement anatomical imaging tests including computed tomography (CT), ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). They frequently identify abnormalities very early in the disease course, sometimes much before anatomical changes are detected by other imaging tests.


Molecular imaging is the visualization, characterization, and measurement of biological processes at the molecular and cellular levels in humans. It personalizes patient care by characterizing specific disease processes in different individuals. The techniques used include nuclear medicine, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), optical imaging, ultrasound and others.

Radiopharmaceuticals can also be used for treatment of certain medical conditions, for example the use of radioactive iodine to treat hyperthyroidism and cancers of the thyroid gland. Another example is use of radioactive iodine coupled with an agent called MIBG (I-131 MIBG) that is an investigational drug for treatment of neuroblastoma.

To learn more, visit the website of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI).

A referring provider should:

Be every child’s advocate

  • Be aware of opportunities to lower radiation dose in children by sending your patients to facilities that have been accredited by the American College of Radiology and other accrediting bodies.
  • Encourage parents to ask questions and then direct them to this website.

Make every effort to reduce the radiation dose to the children

Commonly performed pediatric nuclear medicine procedures and their indications

Image Gently in nuclear medicine: What every referring provider should know (PowerPoint presentation)

• Parent brochure: What you should tell parents about nuclear medicine and radiation safety?
8th grade reading level
12th grade reading level


• Pediatric injected activity tool:

• Nuclear medicine radiation dose tool:

Additional reading material and resources


Nuclear Medicine Resources

Medical Professionals

Referring Providers - Content under construction

Nuclear Medicine Physicians and Radiologists - Content under construction


Medical Physicists - Content under construction


Technologists - Content under construction





Radiation Dose Resources

SNMMI’s Dose Optimization Task Force has created two new online tools to help educate imaging professionals on best practices for pediatric and adult nuclear medicine:


The Pediatric Injected Activity Tool reports recommended injected activity for pediatric patients based on the North American consensus guidelines and the European Association of Nuclear Medicine guidelines. With this tool, specify the nuclear medicine procedure and the pediatric patient’s weight to find the recommended administered activity for the patient.

The Nuclear Medicine Radiation Dose Tool provides convenient access to guidelines and radiation dose estimates (effective dose and critical organ dose) for many nuclear medicine exams. With this tool, specify the nuclear medicine procedure, the injected activity, and the patient model (gender, age) to calculate the effective dose for this procedure.




S. Ted Treves, MD, Chair
Image Gently Nuclear Medicine Initiative 

Michael J. Gelfand,  MD, Past-President
SNMMI Pediatric Imaging Council, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

Marguerite T. Parisi, MD, MS Ed., Chair
SPR Nuclear Medicine Committee, Seattle Children's Hospital

Larry Binkovitz, MD, President
SNMMI Pediatric Imaging Council, Mayo Clinic

Stephanie Spottswood, MD, Sec-Treasurer
SNMMI Pediatric Imaging Council, Vanderbilt University

Frederic Fahey, DSc, Physicist,
Children's Hospital Boston

Dominique Delbeke, MD, PhD, 2009-10
SNMMI President, Vanderbilt University 

Nanci A. Burchell, MBA, CNMT, FSNMTS
Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, Kansas City, MO

Joanne Louis, CNMT, Children's Hospital Boston
Adam Alessio, PhD, Medical Physicist, Seattle Children's

Active Members:

  1. Ted Treves, MD
  2. Michael Gelfand, MD
  3. Meg Parisi, MD
  4. Fred Fahey, MD
  5. Neha Kwartra, MD