Nuclear medicine deals with the diagnostic and therapeutic uses of radioactive materials for a wide range of diseases and disorders. As futuristic as it may sound, nuclear medicine is an established medical specialty that has been in use for more than 60 years—and predates CT, MRI and ultrasound imaging. Every day, about 55,000 men, women and children across the country undergo nuclear medicine procedures for:
- Diagnosis of infections, illnesses or disorders—including tumors, abscesses, hematomas, blockages and cysts—of the kidneys, lungs, gallbladder, thyroid, brain and other organs, as well as small bone fractures.
- Cardiac examinations to detect coronary disease and previous injuries to the heart, as well as to visualize bypass results.
- Treatment of cancer, hyperthyroidism, cancer bone pain and polycythemia (abnormal red cell and blood increase) through the use of radioisotopes.
While diagnostic imaging techniques such as X-ray are used primarily to study anatomy, nuclear medicine goes a step further and examines both organ structure and function, revealing whether an organ is working properly. This added dimension allows physicians to diagnose certain disorders much earlier than they would be able to using other types of medical-imaging exams.
Nuclear Medicine Scan Process & Safety
Prior to a nuclear medicine scan, patients are given a tiny amount of radioactive substance, called a radionuclide, either orally or by injection. The amount of radioactive compound used is very small, quickly eliminated from the body and poses no threat to the patient or anyone coming in contact with that individual.
As the radionuclide moves throughout the body and eventually lands in the tissue or organ being studied, it emits gamma rays. A special gamma camera detects the rays and works with a powerful computer to produce images and measurements of the organ or tissue being studied. The amount of radionuclide that collects in the organ or tissue, and therefore the amount of gamma rays emitted, is linked to the metabolic activity occurring there. Cancer cells, which divide rapidly, tend to be "hot spots" of metabolic activity and therefore absorb more of the radionuclide and emit more gamma radiation.
Quality & Accreditations
CentraState’s Nuclear Medicine Department is accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR), a national quality-standards-setting organization. Accreditation is awarded based on rigorous, on-site, peer-review evaluations of personnel qualifications and equipment performance.
All of our technologists are licensed and board certified in nuclear medicine.
To schedule an appointment for a nuclear medicine test, please call (732) 294-2778 or click the banner below.