Nuclear Medicine is used as a tool in which images are created using a special camera that images organs and tissues in the body, after the administration of a radioactive "tracer" (radionuclide or radioisotope).
A very small amount of radioactive "tracer", specific for the organ or tissue to be scanned, is injected into a vein by a Nuclear Medicine technologist. Images may be taken during the injection, immediately after the injection, or after a delayed period to allow the tracer to distribute to the organ or tissue of interest. The gamma rays emitted by the tracer are detected by a special camera that is positioned near the organ or part of the body being imaged.
The amount of radiation from a nuclear medicine procedure is comparable to that received during a routine x-ray. The tracer only remains in the body for a short period of time before being eliminated in the urine or stool. Nuclear Medicine is commonly used for the following:
Cardiac Stress Tests
3 Phase Bone Scans
Gastric Emptying Scans