Nuclear Medicine is a medical speciality that uses small amounts of radioactive materials, known as radiopharmaceuticals, for diagnostic, therapeutic, and research purposes. These radiopharmaceuticals are specific for the organ, tumour or tissue desired to be studied. Once injected into a patient these radiopharmaceuticals localise in the area of interest, which is then imaged using a special camera. Highly simplified, it is something like taking an X-ray from the inside-out.
Nuclear Medicine provides unique information about both structure and function of nearly every human organ. It is the ability to characterise and quantify physiologic function that makes nuclear medicine different from an X-ray / CT or MRI. As radiopharmaceuticals become more sophisticated, it is becoming possible to see inside of human beings at the molecular level.
Common Nuclear Medicine Scans
Positron emission tomography (PET) Scan: It is a test that uses a special type of camera and a tracer (radioactive chemical) to look at organs in the body. The tracer usually is a special form of a substance (such as glucose) that collects in cells that are using a lot of energy, such ascancer cells.
Bone Scan: A bone scan is a test that can find damage to the bones, find cancer that has spread to the bones, and watch problems such as infection and trauma to the bones. A bone scan can often find a problem days to months earlier than a regular X-ray test.
Cardiac Blood Pool Scan: A cardiac blood pool scan shows how well your heart is pumping bloodto the rest of your body. During this test, a small amount of a radioactive substance called a tracer is injected into a vein. A gamma camera detects the radioactive material as it flows through the heart and lungs.
Gallbladder Scan: A gallbladder scan is a nuclear scanning test that is done to check gallbladder function. The scan can find blockage in the tubes (bile ducts) that lead from the liver to the gallbladder and small intestine (duodenum).This procedure may also be referred to as a liver-biliary scan because the liver often is examined as well due to its proximity and close functional relationship to the gallbladder.
Kidney Scan: A kidney scan is a nuclear scanning test that is done to check kidney function or appearance.Many different kinds of kidney scans can be done. The types of kidney scans include a scan that looks at how blood flows to and through the kidneys, a scan that looks at the shape and size of the kidneys, and a scan that looks at how urine is made and flows out of the kidneys.
Liver and Spleen Scan: A liver spleen scan is an imaging procedure to detect size and abnormalities of the liver and spleen.
It checks for health problems in the liver and spleen. It is a form of radiology, because radiation is used to take the pictures of the inside of your body.
Lung Scan: A lung scan is a nuclear scanning test that is most commonly used to detect a blood clot that is preventing normal blood flow to part of a lung (pulmonary embolism).A lung scan is a specialized radiology procedure used to examine the lungs to identify certain conditions. A lung scan may also be used to follow the progress of treatment of certain conditions.
Salivary Gland Scan: A salivary gland scan is a nuclear medicine test that evaluates the function of the salivary glands.These glands include the parotid and submandibular glands, located on both sides of the neck just below the ears and under the jaw.
This scan is done for detection and evaluation of duct patency, pain upon salivation, presentation of xerostomia, detection and evaluation of mass lesions, and preoperative localization of tumors.
Testicular Scan: A testicular scan uses a special camera to take pictures of the testicles after a radioactive tracer builds up in testicular tissues (nuclear medicine test).A testicular ultrasound (sonogram) is a test that uses reflected sound waves to show a picture of the testicles and scrotum.The test can show the long, tightly coiled tube that lies behind each testicle and collects sperm (epididymis). And it can show the tube (vas deferens) that connects the testicles to the prostate gland. The ultrasound does not use X-rays or other types of radiation.
Gallium Scan: A gallium scan is a nuclear medicine imaging test that uses a radioactive isotoperadioactive isotope (radiopharmaceutical) called gallium citrate Ga 67 to look for areas of inflammation or infection in the body. A special camera takes images of the body’s tissues. Areas of inflammation or rapidly dividing cells show up especially well because they “take up” more gallium than normal tissue.
Multigated Acquisition: A multigated acquisition (MUGA) scan creates video images of the lower chambers of the heart that hold blood (called “ventricles”) to check whether they are pumping blood properly. It shows any abnormalities in the size of the ventricles and in the movement of the blood through the heart. Other names for this test include cardiac blood pooling imaging, nuclear heart scan, nuclear ventriculography, and radionuclide ventriculography.
Metaiodobenzylguanidine Scan: MIBG (metaiodobenzylguanidine) scans help locate and diagnose certain types of tumors in the body. MIBG is a substance that gathers in some tumors, particularly neuroblastoma tumors. When MIBG is combined with radioactive iodine (tracer), it provides a way to identify primary and metastatic (spread) disease. MIBG scans are helpful for locating both bone and soft tissue tumors.
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