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Nuclear Imaging

What is Nuclear Medicine?
Nuclear medicine is a branch of medical imaging that uses small amounts of radioactive material to diagnose and determine the severity of or treat a variety of Diseases, including many types of cancers, heart disease, gastrointestinal, endocrine, neurological disorders and other abnormalities within the body. Because Nuclear medicine procedures are able to pinpoint molecular activity within the body, they offer the potential to identify disease in its earliest stages as well as a Patient’s Immediate response to therapeutic interventions.

Nuclear medicine imaging procedures are noninvasive and, with the exception of intravenous injections, are usually painless medical tests that help physicians Diagnose and evaluate medical conditions. These imaging scans use radioactive materials called radiopharmaceuticals or radiotracers.

Cardiac Nuclear Medicine
Cardiac nuclear medicine is useful in diagnosing and assessing coronary artery disease. It is also used to evaluate cardiomyopathy and identify possible damage to The heart from chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Cardiac nuclear medicine exams provide pictures of the distribution of blood flow to the heart muscle and function of the heart

Thyroid Scan and Uptake
The thyroid scan and thyroid uptake provide information about the structure and function of the thyroid. The thyroid is a gland in the neck that controls metabolism, a Chemical process that regulates the rate at which the body converts food to energy.
A thyroid scan is a type of nuclear medicine imaging. The radioactive iodine uptake test (RAIU) is also known as a thyroid uptake. It is a measurement of thyroid Function, but does not involve imaging.

Nuclear Medicine, Hepatobiliary
Hepatobiliary imaging is a type of nuclear medicine imaging that helps evaluate the liver, gallbladder and the ducts that are part of the biliary system.

Lymphoscintigraphy
Lymphoscintigraphy is a special type of nuclear medicine imaging that provides pictures called scintigrams of the lymphatic system.

Renal Scintigraphy
Renal scintigraphy, also known as "renal scanning" or "renal imaging," refers to several examinations using radioisotopes that evaluate the function and anatomy of The kidneys .

Renal scintigraphy is one of many imaging methods used to evaluate the kidneys. Ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), and MRI can also be used. Your doctor Will Determine which of these examinations will provide the best information about your kidneys.

Why should I do it?
Physicians use radionuclide imaging procedures to visualize the structure and function of an organ, tissue, bone or system within the body in order to:

Cancer

  • Stage cancer by determining the presence or spread of cancer in various parts of the body
  • Localize sentinel lymph nodes before surgery in patients with breast cancer or skin and soft tissue tumors.
  • Plan treatment
  • Evaluate response to therapy
  • Detect the recurrence of cancer
  • Detect rare tumors of the pancreas and adrenal glands

Renal

  • Analyze native and transplant kidney function
  • Detect urinary tract obstruction
  • Evaluate for hypertension related to the kidney arteries
  • Evaluate kidneys for infection versus scar
  • Detect and follow-up urinary reflux in pediatric patients

Heart

  • Visualize heart blood flow and function (such as a myocardial perfusion scan)
  • Detect coronary artery disease and the extent of coronary stenosis
  • Assess damage to the heart following a heart attack
  • Evaluate treatment options such as bypass heart surgery and angioplasty
  • Evaluate the results of revascularization procedures
  • Detect heart transplant rejection
  • Evaluate heart function before and after chemotherapy (MUGA)

Lungs

  • Scan lungs for respiratory and blood flow problems
  • Assess differential lung function for lung reduction or transplant surgery
  • Detect lung transplant rejection

Bones

  • Evaluate bones for fractures, infection and arthritis
  • Evaluate for metastatic bone disease
  • Evaluate painful prosthetic joints
  • Evaluate bone tumors
  • Identify sites for biopsy

Brain

  • Investigate abnormalities in the brain, such as seizures, memory loss and abnormalities in blood flow
  • Detect the early onset of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer disease
  • Plan surgery and localize seizure foci
  • Evaluate for abnormalities in a chemical in the brain involved in controlling movement in patients with suspected Parkinson's disease
  • Evaluation of brain tumor recurrence, surgical or radiation planning or localization for biopsy

Other Systems

  • Identify inflammation or abnormal function of the gallbladder
  • Identify bleeding into the bowel
  • Assess post-operative complications of gallbladder surgery
  • Evaluate lymphedema
  • Evaluate fever of unknown origin
  • Locate the presence of infection
  • Measure thyroid function to detect an overactive or underactive thyroid
  • Help diagnose hyperthyroidism and blood cell disorders
  • Evaluate for hyperparathyroidism
  • Evaluate stomach emptying
  • Evaluate spinal fluid flow and potential spinal fluid leaks

In children,nuclear medicine is also used to:

  • Investigate abnormalities in the esophagus, kidneys and intestines
  • Evaluate the openness of tear ducts
  • Evaluate the openness of ventricular shunts in the brain
  • Assess congenital heart disease for shunts and pulmonary blood flow

Any preparations needed?

  • Women should always inform their physician or technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant or if they are breastfeeding.
  • You should inform your physician and the technologist performing your exam of any medications you are taking, including vitamins and herbal supplements. You should also inform them if you have any allergies and about recent illnesses or other medical conditions.
  • Jewelry and other metallic accessories should be left at home if possible, or removed prior to the exam because they may interfere with the procedure.
  • In some instances, certain medications or procedures may interfere with the examination ordered
  • You should avoid caffeine (caffeinated as well as decaffeinated coffee, hot and cold tea, caffeinated soft drinks and energy drinks, etc.) and smoking for up to 48 hours before your examination.

Hepatobiliary Nuclear Medicine

  • You should not eat or drink for at least four hours before your exam.
  • You should not have tests that use barium for 48 hours before hepatobiliary imaging.

Renal Scintigraphy

  • Preparation can vary widely based on the type of scan being conducted.
  • You may be asked to drink extra fluid or possibly receive intravenous (IV) fluids.
  • You may also be given a diuretic to increase urine production. In some cases, the bladder may need to remain empty during the scan, necessitating the Insertion of a catheter. In other cases, you may be asked to go to the bathroom and empty your bladder prior to imaging.
  • You also may be asked to discontinue use of some medications prior to your exam
  • Tell your physician if you are taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) .