Nuclear medicine is a medical specialty that diagnoses and treats diseases. Nuclear medicine shows how organs or body systems work, so it may detect disease earlier than other types of imaging exams.
The name "nuclear medicine" refers to a small amount of radioactive material (radioisotope) that is combined with medicine (pharmaceutical) to form a radiopharmaceutical. Sometimes it is also called a tracer. Nuclear medicine uses different types of radiopharmaceuticals for different exams.
The radiopharmaceutical, or tracer, emits radiation that is detected by a gamma camera. Gamma cameras do not produce radiation, they detect and image radiation. There is no harm to the patient from the gamma camera.
Radiopharmaceuticals (tracers) are given by mouth, by injection, or are inhaled.
The pharmaceutical or medicine portion of the tracer is designed to travel to a particular organ or area of the body. The radioactive portion is carried along with the pharmaceutical so it can be seen by our gamma camera.
Radiopharmaceuticals are carefully tested. The risk of side effects is extremely small. The radioactivity of a radiopharmaceutical is carefully selected by the nuclear medicine physician to be safe.
Most radiopharmaceuticals used in nuclear medicine studies give less radiation exposure than a day at the beach.
Nuclear medicine procedures we perform
- Brain Scan
- Bone Scan
- DISIDA or Hepatobiliary Scan
- DMSA Scan
- Functional Renal Scan
- Gallium Scan
- Gastric Emptying Exam
- I-123 MIBG Scan
- I-125 Glofil (GFR) Test
- I-131 Hyperthyroid Treatment
- Meckels Scan
- Milk Scan
- MUGA Scan
- Nuclear VCUG (Voiding Cysto-Urethrogram)
- SPECT Imaging
- Thyroid Uptake and Scan
Due to the wide variety of procedures performed, instructions for all procedures are not provided here. If there are any questions about a procedure not listed above, please call the Nuclear Medicine Department at 215-590-2592 to receive instructions.