Normal bone scan.
Two photos above:
Two photos above:
|What is Nuclear Medicine?
Nuclear medicine is used to determine how
an organ is functioning. For example, nuclear medicine can be used to study
how a damaged heart is functioning or how blood flow is restricted in parts
of the brain. Other organs that can be imaged using nuclear medicine include
the liver, kidneys, thyroid, bones, and many others.
During a nuclear medicine study, chemicals
"tagged" with radionuclides that emit gamma rays are injected into the
body. The chemicals collect in the area of the body that is to be studied.
Images, which may be taken immediately or days after the injection, are
obtained by using a gamma camera that detects the gamma rays and produces
an image map called a scintigram.
Nuclear medicine studies provide information
that can help your doctor diagnose and treat diseases in their early stages.
Nuclear medicine, using radioactive substances, can also be used to treat
certain diseases and conditions, such as overactive thyroid glands or thyroid
Preparing for a Nuclear Medicine Study
Generally, there are no special preparations
that need to be made prior to having a nuclear medicine study. However,
certain types of studies may require some preparation. For example, prior
to having a thyroid uptake and scan, your doctor may ask that you avoid
foods and medications with iodine for one week prior to the test. Your
doctor or radiologist can advise you about any special instructions you
may need to follow.
What to Expect During a Nuclear Medicine
The most widely used tests include the
thyroid uptakes and scans, and lung, liver, and bone scans.
Thyroid Uptakes and Scans
During the thyroid uptake procedure, you
will be asked to swallow a small amount of radioactive material. A counter
measures how fast the material is "taken up" by the thyroid. This determines
how well the thyroid is functioning. During a thyroid scan, you will
either be asked to drink a radioactive material or receive the material
through an injection. A gamma camera or scanner produces an image that
shows your physician which parts of the thyroid are working properly.
The lung scan measures how air and blood
move in and out of your lungs. Clots in the lungs can also be found and
some heart and lung conditions can be monitored using lung scans.
During the lung scan, you will receive
an injection of radioactive material which is carried to the lungs. The
gamma camera or scanner records images that determine how the lungs are
functioning. X-rays of the lungs are also usually taken
at this time.