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Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine is a specialized area of radiology that uses very small amounts of radioactive materials to create images of organs, tissue structure and function. This process helps with the diagnosis of cancers, other diseases and any abnormalities. 

When used in conjunction with PET/CT technology, physicians also use nuclear medicine to monitor how well treatment is working.

How Nuclear Medicine Works

Depending on the type of nuclear medicine test the patient is having, a small amount of radioactive material (radiotracer) is injected into a vein, swallowed or inhaled. This is not a dye and there are no side effects or risk of reaction to the radioactive material.

The radiotracer fills the organ and gives off gamma-ray energy. The energy is detected by a gamma camera. The gamma camera creates images and the technologist processes the information on the computer. The computer and camera generate images that help radiologists interpret the study. Information about how organs function helps physicians provide the right treatment for patients.