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Nuclear Medicine Print E-mail

Dr. Kennedy Nuclear medicine is a branch of the science of medical imaging using the nuclear properties of matter in diagnosis and therapy. Nuclear medicine produces images reflecting biological processes that take place at the cellular and subcellular level. Nuclear medicine procedures use pharmaceuticals labeled with radionuclides. Radioactive substances are administered to patients and the radiation emitted is measured. Imaging may be referred to as radionuclide imaging or nuclear scintigraphy. In therapy, radionuclides are administered to treat disease or provide palliative relief of pain. For example, administration of Iodine-131 is often used for the treatment of thyrotoxicosis and thyroid cancer. Phosphorus-32 was formerly used in treatment of polycythemia vera. Those treatments rely on killing cells by high radiation exposure, as compared to diagnostics in which the exposure is kept as low as possible to reduce the chance of creating a cancer. Nuclear medicine differs from other imaging modalities in that the tests primarily show the physiological function of the system being investigated as opposed to traditional anatomical imaging such as CT or MRI. Nuclear medicine images can be superimposed, using software or hybrid cameras, on images from modalities such as CT or MRI to highlight which part of the body the radiopharmaceutical is concentrated in. This practice is often referred to as image fusion or co-registration.

The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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