Nuclear medicine is a branch of medical imaging that uses small amounts of radioactive material to diagnose or treat a variety of diseases, including many types of cancers, heart disease and other abnormalities within the body.
Nuclear medicine or radionuclide imaging procedures are noninvasive and, with the exception of intravenous injections, are usually painless medical tests that help physicians diagnose medical conditions. These imaging scans use very small amounts of radioactive materials called radiopharmaceuticals or radiotracers.
Depending on the type of nuclear medicine exam you are undergoing, a very small amount of radiotracer is either injected into a vein, swallowed or inhaled as a gas and eventually accumulates in the organ or area of your body being examined, where it gives off energy in the form of gamma rays. This energy is detected by a device called a gamma camera or probe. These devices work together with a computer to measure the amount of radiotracer absorbed by your body and to produce images offering details on both the structure and function of organs and tissues.
At GCM Radiology, we provide a full array of nuclear medicine studies at both Suburban and Sibley Memorial Hospitals including most frequently ordered bone, renal, lung, gallbladder, thyroid, parathyroid, gastric, and cardiac MUGA scans with and without SPECT (single proton emission computed tomography) imaging. Radioiodine treatment for thyroid disorders is also available, and performed in a safe environment. Because our nuclear medicine specialists are experienced radiologists, they can interpret and correlate your nuclear medicine studies with other imaging studies such as X-rays, MRIs and CT scans to present a more complete picture of your medical problem.
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