Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine is a medical specialty involving the application of radioactive substances in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Nuclear medicine, in a sense, is "radiology done inside out" or "endoradiology" because it records radiation emitting from within the body rather than radiation that is generated by external sources like X-rays. In addition, nuclear medicine scans differ from radiology as the emphasis is not on imaging anatomy but the function and for such reason, it is called a physiological imaging modality. Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography or SPECT and Positron Emission Tomography or PET scans are the two most common imaging modalities in nuclear medicine.​

核医学成像 Nuclear medicine imaging

Nuclear medicine imaging uses small amounts of radioactive materials called radiotracers that are typically injected into the bloodstream, inhaled or swallowed. The radiotracer travels through the area being examined and gives off energy in the form of gamma rays which are detected by a special camera and a computer to create images of the inside of your body. Nuclear medicine imaging provides unique information that often cannot be obtained using other imaging procedures and offers the potential to identify disease in its earliest stages.

核医学诊断 Diagnosis

Using nuclear medicine as a diagnostic tool is a generally painless approach that can provide excellent information to physicians. Some radiotracers are injected, while others you will be asked to either inhale or swallow. These radiotracers contain a small amount of radioactive material that enables doctors to see what is happening at the molecular level when you are examined under a special camera or imaging device.

核医学治疗 Treatment

Using nuclear medicine as treatments like radioactive iodine (I131) therapy or radioimmunotherapy (RIT) has proven to help fight against certain cancers, heart problems, and other diseases. In adults, nuclear medicine can be used for the following:

  • Bones – Evaluates fractures, infections, bone tumors, or arthritis. It can also be used to identify locations for a biopsy.
  • Lungs – Used to scan for respiratory and blood flow problems or to detect a lung transplant rejection.
  • Brain – Detects early signs of many types or abnormalities especially associated with seizures, or disorders like Alzheimer's. Nuclear medicine can help evaluate suspected brain tumors as well.
  • Heart – Helps visualize things like blood flow and function, and assess damage after suffering from a heart attack.