What Is Nuclear Medicine?

What Is Nuclear Medicine?

When it comes to nuclear medical imaging, the vast majority of people aren’t familiar or aware of what it is we do… until the day comes when they really need us. That’s okay. Most of us don’t know how to change a flat tire until we actually get one.


But for the curious, the concerned, the thinkers-ahead, we like to explain pieces of what it means to practice radiology, should you need us. Everyone’s heard of an x-ray. Many people have had CT or MRI scans for various reasons. But the smallest fraction of our practice is a powerful one: nuclear medicine.


Nuclear medicine is a diagnostic imaging modality used to help understand fractures, tumors and cancers. It requires a dose of a radioactive isotope that can be injected, inhaled or swallowed.


Through specific steps of administering the isotope, waiting and then going through the examination, we are able to assess the morphology (shape, type) and function of certain tissues. This allows us to better understand what’s wrong, what’s right, and what can be done.


While nuclear medicine does require radioactive isotope exposure, it is always done with careful balance: is the value to be obtained from the imaging surpassing the potential harm of the radiation? Usually, the answer is yes, as the dosage is low. However, other imaging modalities may be used if there is cause for concern.





Originally published 12/10/13 on diagnosticimagingcenterskc.com.