Nuclear medicine is a specialized area of radiology that uses very small amounts of radioactive materials, or radiopharmaceuticals, to examine organ function and structure. Nuclear medicine imaging is a combination of many different disciplines, including chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer technology, and medicine. This branch of radiology is often used to help diagnose and treat abnormalities very early in the progression of a disease.
Conditions Diagnosed with Nuclear Medicine
- Many types of cancer including breast, lung, colorectal
- Cardiac conditions or chest pain
- Gastric emptying, hepatobiliary
- Thyroid disorders
Methodist Health System offers the following nuclear medicine services:
- Cardiac stress tests and imaging
- Digestive scans and imaging
- Lymphatic mapping
- Renal scans
- Respiratory imaging
- Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT/CT)
- Therapy treatments
- Thyroid scans and imaging
- Tumor/Infection imaging
- Whole body bone imaging
Positron emission tomography (PET) is a type of nuclear medicine procedure that measures metabolic activity of the cells of body tissues. PET is actually a combination of nuclear medicine and biochemical analysis.
Used mostly in patients with brain or heart conditions and cancer, PET helps to visualize the biochemical changes taking place in the body, such as the metabolism (the process by which cells change food into energy after food is digested and absorbed into the blood) of the heart muscle.
PET/CT is vital to determining a course of treatment for many types of cancer.
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