Nuclear medicine imaging is a non-invasive method for diagnosing and treating disease. Small amounts of radioactive materials are injected intravenously to target the area of the body to be examined, and then a series of images are taken with a specialized camera or scanner. Nuclear imaging focuses on physiological processes rather than anatomy and structure, and because it can identify molecular activity, it has a greater chance of showing disease in its earliest stages and can be useful for targeted therapies. The radiation exposure is low, and there are no known long-term adverse effects from such small dosage.
Instead of being focused on a section of the body like CT and MRI typically do, nuclear imaging is usually organ- or tissue-specific. It is often used to evaluate the function of an organ, such as identifying whether the brain is getting adequate blow supply or the stomach is emptying properly. Nuclear imaging can also help identify damage to tissue, like that caused by a heart attack or infection, as well as abnormalities, such as seizures, obstructions, and tumors.
Learn more about specific nuclear medicine procedures:
Cardiac Nuclear Medicine
General Nuclear Medicine
Pediatric Nuclear Medicine