What is Nuclear Medicine?
Nuclear medicine is a diagnostic test that utilizes a small amount of radioactive material that is either injected intravenously or given by mouth. It is usually targeted to a specific organ such as the bones, thyroid, lungs, heart, internal organs, and breasts. Because it emits gamma rays these can be detected by a gamma camera and computer, and a functional and anatomic picture of the respective organ can be displayed showing either increased or decreased activity.
What is its Role?
It is a noninvasive test that is frequently done first before more invasive procedures such as surgery.
- Thyroid function or nodules
- Presence or absence of cancer
- Detection of clots in the lungs
- Gastric emptying
- Cardiac function
- Renal function
- Gall bladder blockage
- Sites of bleeding or infection
- Abnormalities of the bones such as fracture, infection, or tumor
Usually no prior preparation is needed except for gastric emptying when you will be asked to not eat or drink anything.
A specially trained radiologist will interpret and analyze your exam and report the result to your physician.
If you are pregnant you should notify our office. With radiologic tests, allergies are rare. The radiation dose is small about the same as a conventional x-ray.
Nuclear Medicine is available at El Camino Imaging Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico .