Nuclear medicine technologies specialize in the imaging of an organ’s metabolic functions. This helps doctors diagnose certain diseases and identify various medical conditions.
During a nuclear medicine procedure, an intravenous (IV) catheter is usually inserted into a vein in your arm or hand. Through this IV, a radioactive tracer is injected. A special camera called a gamma camera photographs the organ or body part. The resulting film shows normal absorption or dark and light spots, relative to how the organ is functioning. A PET scan is a common type of nuclear medicine.
Nuclear medicine imaging can evaluate a wide range of conditions and is often used to:
- Evaluate kidney function
- Measure thyroid function
- Visualize blood flow to the heart
- Scan lungs for respiratory and blood flow problems
- Identify inflammation in the gallbladder
- Evaluate bones for fractures and infections
- Determine whether cancer is present or has spread in certain parts of the body
- Investigate conditions that involve the brain, such as seizures or memory loss
Nuclear medicine can localize cancer in the bone, identify blood clots in the lungs and scan the gallbladder and other organs for abnormalities. Learn more about common types of nuclear medicine tests below.
Scripps Health offers nuclear medicine services at the following locations in San Diego County.