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What is Nuclear Medicine?

Please click HERE to watch a short video introduction to Nuclear Medicine


Mark Richardson and his colleagues from South Tees Hospital NHS Trusthave kindly agreed to make this poster available in a format which can be used by everyone for patient information purposes. Acknowledgments:

Mark Richardson, Stefanie Ollis & Claire Blood of the The James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough.

pdf          What is Nuclear Medicine? Poster

Here is the text only version of the poster:

What is Nuclear Medicine
Nuclear medicine is a safe and painless technique which provides medical images of the body.
•Nuclear medicine imaging procedures often identify abnormalities very early in the progress of disease, sometimes before problems are apparent with other diagnostic tests.
• Nuclear medicine uses small amounts of radioactive materials as tracers to diagnose or treat disease. In diagnosing a condition, the radiation is detected by a special type of camera called a “Gamma camera”. It provides visual
information about the area of the body being imaged by looking at the pattern of tracer-uptake.
• Radiation doses are kept as low as possible,particularly for scans on children.

What does a scan involve?
• During most nuclear medicine examinations, you will lie down on a scanning couch.
• The area being scanned is then placed underneath the camera heads. They will come close but they
will not touch you and you do not feel anything from them.
• The camera heads either move around you in a  circular motion or scan your body with one camera head placed
above and the other beneath you.
• You are not completely closed in during the scan.
• Staff will be with you in the room at all times.

What are the common tests performed?
• To analyse kidney function and drainage.
• To image blood flow and function of the heart.
• To scan lungs for blood clots and other respiratory disorders.
• To evaluate bones for fracture, infection, arthritis, etc.
• Brain scanning.
• To locate the presence of infection by white cell scanning.
• To measure thyroid function to detect an overactive thyroid gland.
• To measure kidney function for accurate chemotherapy doses.

Nuclear Medicine Treatments

•Thyroid disorders
• Bone pain
• Knee joint pain and swelling

How do I get the results of the scan?
The images taken are reported on by a radiologist (a specialist doctor trained in looking at this type of scan) and/or clinical scientists.
• The results will then be sent to the consultant who referred you.
• Your hospital consultant will get in touch to give you the results of the scan at your next clinic appointment.