What is Nuclear Medicine?

What is Nuclear Medicine?

Nuclear Medicine is the use of radioactive materials to diagnose and sometimes treat disease. It shows how organs and tissues are working in your body. Most other diagnostic imaging tests show anatomy only, whereas Nuclear Medicine imaging tests are unique in that they show both anatomy and function. There are many different Nuclear Medicine examinations to assess organ function. For example, a Hepatobiliary Scan shows how your gallbladder is working, not just what it looks like. A Cardiac Stress test shows how well the blood flows to your heart muscle which helps your physician to detect Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). Bone Scans can detect fractures, tumors and infections. This helps your physician diagnose disease earlier to make your treatment more effective.

How Does it Work?

Nuclear Medicine procedures use a small amount of radioactive material, called a radiopharmaceutical. The radiopharmaceutical is either injected, inhaled, or taken by capsule. This material then travels to target tissues, organs or bone and emits radioactive gamma rays that can only be seen with special equipment called Gamma Cameras. Images are taken and recorded on a computer screen for the radiologist to interpret.