Nuclear Medicine at Sky Ridge Medical Center
Nuclear medicine is a type of medical imaging that uses small amounts of radioactive material to diagnose or treat a variety of diseases, including cancer, heart disease and other abnormalities within the body.
Nuclear medicine, also known as radionuclide imaging procedures, are noninvasive, painless medical tests that use radioactive materials called radiopharmaceuticals or radiotracers.
Depending on the type of nuclear medicine exam you are having, the radiotracer is either injected into a vein, swallowed or inhaled as a gas. The radiotracer eventually accumulates in the organ or area of your body being examined and gives off energy in the form of gamma rays. This energy is detected by a device called a gamma camera, a PET scanner (positron emission tomography) and/or probe. These devices work together with a computer to measure the amount of radiotracer absorbed by your body and to produce special pictures offering details on both the structure and function of organs and tissues.
Nuclear medicine also offers therapeutic procedures such as radioactive iodine (I-131) therapy that uses radioactive material to treat cancer and other medical conditions affecting the thyroid gland.