Nuclear Medicine Testing:
Nuclear medicine is the branch of medicine that involves the administration of radioactive substances in order to diagnose and treat disease. The scans performed in nuclear medicine are carried out by a radiographer.
The most important difference between nuclear medicine diagnostic tests and other imaging modalities is that nuclear imaging techniques show the physiological function of the tissue or organ being investigated, while more traditional imaging systems such as computed tomography (CT scan) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scans) show only the anatomy or structure.
Both nuclear medicine and radiology are used as a diagnostic procedure (to determine a patient’s health, monitor the course of an illness or follow the progress of the treatment) and as a therapeutic procedure (to treat illnesses). However they are different in that in nuclear medicine radioisotopes are introduced into the body internally, whereas in radiology X-rays penetrate the body from outside the body.
As a potential patient you should be aware that nuclear medicine procedures are among the safest diagnostic imaging exams available. A patient only receives an extremely small amount of a radiopharmaceutical, just enough to provide sufficient diagnostic information. In fact, the amount of radiation from a nuclear medicine procedure is comparable to, or often times less than, that of a diagnostic x-ray.
The Nuclear Medicine division of our Radiology department is helpful in detecting and diagnosing a variety of diseases and problems a patient may be having. This department is accredited by the American College of Radiology, which recognizes high quality nuclear cardiology departments.