At Yashoda hospital, we are committed to exceptional patient care and serving the community's healthcare needs with state-of-the-art technology. Our radiologists and doctors trained in nuclear medicine use minimal amounts of radioactive materials or radiopharmaceuticals to help our doctors evaluate organ function and locate tumors and certain types of infections. While treating thyroid, parathyroid, and breast cancer, we use it in conjunction with surgery.
What is Nuclear Medicine?
Nuclear medicine involves the use of moderate amounts of radioactive materials for diagnosis and evaluating a broad spectrum of diseases and ailments involving the heart, gastrointestinal system, brain, endocrine system, etc. Various uses of Nuclear medicine include:
- Assessment of heart function and detection of various cardiovascular diseases
- Determining efficient treatment plans that yield the best result for the patient
- Detecting any abnormality in the lung function
- Evaluating bone injuries like fractures and dislocations
- Determine the source of an infection or disease
- Evaluate thyroid function
What are some common applications of Nuclear Medicine?
If the physicians have to visualize the structure and function of a tissue, organ, bone, or system within the body, they use nuclear medicine imaging procedures.
In adults, nuclear medicine is used to:
- identify heart blood flow and function
- evaluate coronary artery disease and the limit of coronary stenosis
- detect damage to the heart following a heart attack
- assess treatment options such as angioplasty and bypass heart surgery
- analyze the results of revascularization procedures
- evaluate heart transplant rejection
- assess heart function before and after chemotherapy
- evaluate the lungs for respiratory and blood flow problems
- detect differential lung function to determine lung reduction or transplant surgery
- assess lung transplant rejection
- evaluate bones for infection, fractures, and arthritis
- detect for metastatic bone disease
- assess painful prosthetic joints
- assess bone tumors
- detect sites for biopsy
- lookout for any abnormalities in the brain in patients with certain disorders or symptoms, such as memory loss, seizures, and suspected abnormalities in blood flow
- identify the early onset of neurological disorders
- support in surgical planning and recognize the areas of the brain that may be causing seizures
- assess for abnormalities in the brain which may involve chemicals that are used for controlling movement in patients with suspected movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease
- assess for surgical, suspected brain tumor recurrence, or radiation planning or localization for biopsy
- detect inflammation or abnormal function of the gallbladder
- detect bleeding into the bowel
- evaluate post-operative complications of gallbladder surgery
- identify lymphedema
- assess fever of unknown origin
- recognize the presence of infection
- evaluate thyroid function to identify an overactive or underactive thyroid
- assist diagnose hyperthyroidism and blood cell disorders
- assess for hyperparathyroidism
- assess stomach emptying
- assess spinal fluid flow and potential spinal fluid leaks
In adults and children, nuclear medicine helps to:
- stage cancer by identifying the presence or spread of cancer in various parts of the body
- recognize the area of sentinel lymph nodes before surgery in patients with breast cancer or skin and soft tissue tumors
- plan treatment
- assess response to therapy
- identify the recurrence of cancer
- identify rare tumors of the pancreas and adrenal glands
- evaluate native and transplant kidney blood flow and function
- identify urinary tract obstruction
- assess for hypertension (high blood pressure) related to the kidney arteries
- assess kidneys for infection versus scar
- determine and follow-up urinary reflux
In children, nuclear medicine helps to:
- lookout for any abnormalities in the esophagus
- evaluate the openness of tear ducts
- determine the openness of ventricular shunts in the brain
- evaluate congenital heart disease for shunts and pulmonary blood flow
What to Expect During a Nuclear Medicine Procedure?
Before the Procedure
- You will be told to wear a hospital gown.
- Pregnant women also should tell radiologists if they are pregnant.
- Unless you are told otherwise, you should take food and medications as usual.
- Tell your radiologists if you have undergone recent surgery. You will also have to tell the doctor if you are taking any medications.
- Prior to the scan, leave all the jewelry and other accessories at home.
- Tell the radiologists if you have medical or electronic devices in your body such as cochlear (ear) implants, types of clips used for brain aneurysms, metal coils placed within blood vessels, older cardiac defibrillators and pacemakers.
During the Procedure
- For the scan, you will be asked to lie on an examination table. A nurse or technologist will place an intravenous (IV) catheter into a vein in your hand or arm.
- Depending on your type of nuclear medicine exam, the radiotracer is placed intravenously, swallowed, or inhaled as a gas.
- When the camera or scanner is taking a series of images, you will have to remain completely still.
- The total scanning time is usually about 20 minutes and even several hours, depending on the exam type.
After the Procedure
- Our radiologist or other doctors specially trained in nuclear medicine will supervise and interpret radiology examinations by analyzing the images.
- The signed reports will be shared with you or with your primary physician to discuss the results.
- You may have to undergo follow-up exams because of any potential abnormality needs, which may require evaluation with additional views or a special imaging technique.
- The doctor will ask you to go for further tests to see if the treatment is working.
Are there any risks involved with it?
- A nuclear medicine exam has a relatively low radiation exposure, and thus there are very low risks.
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, always tell your doctor and radiology technologist beforehand.