Nuclear Medicine is a branch of diagnostic imaging that uses very small doses of radioactive materials (radio pharmaceuticals) to image the body. Nuclear Medicine provides mostly functional and metabolic information of the body with limited anatomic information. The metabolic information obtained is then used to make a proper diagnosis. Nuclear Medicine may be able to detect conditions earlier than other tests due to its functional basis, therefore permitting more effective treatment.
The radioactive drugs given to patients migrate throughout the body and accumulate in areas of abnormal tissue. Patients are then later scanned next to a complex nuclear medicine camera, which is integrated with computers to view any abnormalities. The amount of radiation in a typical nuclear imaging procedure is comparable with routine diagnostic x-ray procedures and is very safe. These studies have been performed for decades without adverse consequences.
Recent advances in technology have resulted in the availability of new nuclear medicine cameras (called SPECT/CT) that combine a state of the art nuclear medicine camera with the ability to perform low dose CT. This allows fusion of structural and functional information in the one study and has greatly increased the diagnostic usefulness of this discipline. St Vincent’s Private Radiology is proud to offer this technology to our patients referred for Nuclear Medicine Studies.