Nuclear Medicine

Friday, June 05, 2015

Nuclear medicine may sound intimidating to patients facing imaging testing, but its actually as safe as an X-ray and can be a beneficial procedure. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about this type of imaging in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

In nuclear medicine, images are developed based on the detection of energy emitted from a radioactive substance given to the patient.

Because the doses of radiotracer administered are small, diagnostic nuclear medicine procedures result in low radiation exposure.

Nuclear imaging can be used to analyze kidney function; look at blood flow and function of organs; evaluate bones for fracture, infection, arthritis or tumor; determine the presence or spread of cancer and locate the presence of infection.

The patient is given a radioisotope either by mouth or through an IV before the procedure. The radioisotope, which is an element that releases radiation as it breaks down, localizes in a specific organ system. The gamma rays given off by the radioisotopes are detected by a special camera, and images are produced with help from a computer.

The information provided by nuclear medicine examinations is unique and not available from other imaging methods. Nuclear imaging findings may even eliminate the need for exploratory surgery.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.