Nuclear Medicine

What is nuclear medicine?
Nuclear medicine involves the use of radioactive tracers to study a wide variety of normal and abnormal body functions and treat certain diseases. A radiotracer, or radiopharmaceutical, is simply an element that emits radiation detectable from outside the body.

Who will perform my test?
Under the direction of a qualified physician, a nuclear medicine technologist prepares and administers radiopharmaceuticals and operates radiation detection equipment.

What does the equipment detect?
Radiation detection equipment measures the quantity or distribution of the radiopharmaceutical in the patient and performs any calculations or computer analyses needed to complete the patient’s exam.

What are the most common procedures?
Cardiac imaging:
The technologist analyzes blood flow through the heart and creates computerized images of the beating heart to map damaged heart tissue.

Bone scan: This scan is usually performed to evaluate the spread of cancer in the body, but might also determine bone infections or stress fractures.

Thyroid scan: The thyroid can be scanned to determine its size or the presence of nodules.