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What is Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine is a medical specialty that deals with the study of the internal functionality of the body. The treatment involves giving a patient a small amount of radioactive medication, called radiopharmaceuticals, that makes the body marginally radioactive, and further recording and capturing images from the radiations emitted by the medicine to gain a better insight of the working of the body organs. While the medication is most commonly injected into the bloodstream through a vein, there are many different ways of ingestion as well. These include:

  • Swallowing the medicine,
  • Direct injection into the tissue beneath the skin,
  • Injection into a shunt,
  • Injection into a joint, or
  • Inhaled

 

Nuclear medicine can also be used for the treatment of certain types of diseases or conditions.  In such cases, the amount of medicine dose is much higher, and it mostly targets the diseased or abnormal organs.  The type of nuclear medicine given generally emits ionizing radiation that has maximum effect on the organ system or body part being treated.

Nuclear Medicine & PET Scan

PET Scan (Positron Emission Tomography Scan) is done to find cancer and to see if it is responding to the treatment. It helps in pinpointing the tumor or diseased places and give information on areas where malignant cell activities have increased. The PET Scan uses nuclear medicine which is consumed by the mutated cells and give off gamma rays that help identifying the areas of cell activities.

Who are Nuclear Medicine Specialists?

Nuclear Medicine Specialists are doctors with specialized training in the field of nuclear medicine. Some Nuclear Medicine Specialists are also trained in medical specialties such as cardiology, radiology, oncology, ultrasound diagnosis, PET scan etc.

Who are Nuclear Medicine Technologists?

Nuclear medicine technologists are health professionals with a degree in the discipline of nuclear medicine. Among other things, they qualify in the following areas:

  • Use and measure radiopharmaceuticals,
  • Take blood samples and give injections,
  • Process and analyze nuclear medicine studies,
  • Use nuclear medicine gamma cameras,
  • Understand the diseases treated or investigated by nuclear medicine, and
  • Professionally deal with the patients

 

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