An Overview of Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine is a method for your doctor to diagnose and treat a variety of diseases and conditions. Specific organs and structures within your body can be studied using nuclear medicine. But perhaps the most useful function of nuclear medicine is its ability to image the function of the organs or structures. Nuclear medicine makes it possible to view parts of the body and diagnose conditions that would typically require surgery, and can detect certain disease in very early stages.

Using radioactive materials, called radiopharmaceuticals or a tracer, images of your body are taken using special cameras. The tracer is injected, ingested or inhaled into the body and is then is tracked by special cameras and computers. These images should give your doctor a clear understanding of what is happening in your body.

Concerns about exposure to radiation are normal. But, nuclear medicine is a safe and relatively painless way to make a diagnosis and the benefits of having a nuclear medicine test far outweigh the risks.