Nuclear Medicine for Diagnosis and Treatment of Variety of Diseases

Nuclear Medicine is a stream of medical imaging that uses small proportion of radioactive material to diagnose or treat a variety of diseases. This medical imaging technique is also used in the diagnosis and treatment of cancers, heart disease and other abnormalities within the body.

This is a non-invasive, painless imaging procedure that helps physicians diagnose medical conditions. Radioactive materials called radiopharmaceuticals or radiotracers are used for imaging. According to the medical exam the patient is undergoing, the radiotracer is either injected into a vein, swallowed or inhaled as a gas that eventually gets accumulated in the site of your body being examined. The site at which it gets accumulated, it gives off energy in the form of gamma rays which is detected by a device called a gamma camera. The gamma camera is used along with a PET scanner, probe and a computer to measure the amount of radiopharmaceuticals absorbed by the body and to produce images offering details on the structure and function of organs and tissues.

Nuclear medicine images can be used along with computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to produce special images. This approach enables doctors to gather information from two sources to be correlated and interpreted on one image. This helps to gather precise information for accurate diagnosis.

Nuclear Medicine Imaging Scans Are Performed To:

  • Analyze kidney function
  • Visualize heart blood flow and function
  • Evaluate bones for fractures, infection, arthritis and tumors
  • Locate the presence of infection
  • Investigate abnormalities in the brain
  • Localize the lymph nodes before surgery in patients with breast cancer or melanoma
  • Scan lungs for respiratory and blood flow problems
  • Identify inflammation in the gallbladder
  • Determine the presence or spread of cancer in various parts of the body
  • Measure thyroid function to detect an overactive or underactive thyroid
However, the resolution of the images obtained may not be as clear as with other imaging techniques, such as CT or MRI.

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