What is Nuclear Medicine?

Nuclear medicine is a medical field that uses radioactive substances for diagnostic purposes. In this article, we’ll discuss what the procedures involved are and how much radiation you’ll be exposed to. Also, we’ll discuss SPECT and PET scans, two nuclear medicine procedures that expose you to high amounts of radiation. To learn more about these medical procedures, read on. This article will answer a few common questions about nuclear medicine.

Radiopharmaceuticals used in nuclear medicine

One of the most commonly used radiopharmaceuticals in nuclear medicine is technetium-99m. This agent has numerous clinical uses, ranging from diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease to investigating bacterial infections in orthopaedic implants. Fluoro-glucose is another common agent used in nuclear imaging. These agents can be administered through a needle through the skin. The radiation from these injected tracers is detected by a PET camera.

Another use for radiopharmaceuticals is in the treatment of prostate cancer. Brachytherapy is a type of radiotherapy in which patients receive a radiation dose to treat prostate cancer. It is important to understand that all radiopharmaceuticals must be approved by the FDA before they can be used in clinical settings. The drugs must meet certain requirements for safe use in nuclear medicine, including the lack of particle radiation that could contribute to the patient’s exposure. Furthermore, the radiopharmaceuticals must have a long enough half-life for effective imaging.

In nuclear medicine, tiny amounts of radioactive materials called radiopharmaceuticals are given to patients. These substances emit radiation which is detected with gamma-ray-detecting PET cameras or special imaging devices. The information is then used to diagnose the patient. The radiation produced by nuclear medicine is comparable to the radiation emitted by diagnostic x-rays. To learn more about the benefits of nuclear medicine, you should seek the advice of a qualified doctor.

Procedures that expose you to radiation

While x-rays are a common way to diagnose various conditions, nuclear medicine uses medical isotopes to generate images and produce g-rays. The radiation doses that nuclear medicine uses are higher than x-rays and may increase the risk of developing certain types of cancer later in life. Some nuclear medicine procedures are longer and use more radiation, and the radiation exposure may be more pronounced. Radiation exposure in children can have a longer lasting effect than in adults, and the effects can be felt decades afterward.

The use of radiopharmaceuticals is essential to the practice of nuclear medicine. These substances are used to diagnose various conditions, including cancer and non-cancerous disorders. In most diagnostic scans, the amount of radiation exposure is very low. In contrast, the radiation exposure from nuclear medicine treatments can be higher. Although the radiation levels are low during diagnostic imaging, they can increase the risks for certain patients, such as those who are pregnant or nursing. You should always discuss any radiation risks with your doctor before undergoing a nuclear medicine procedure.

There are several types of nuclear medicine procedures, including the PET scan. PET scans are one of the most commonly performed nuclear medicine exams. They are often combined with computed tomography, which results in images that contain both anatomical and functional information. Patients should be prepared for nuclear medicine procedures by reading patient safety information and instructions. Patient fact sheets provide additional information about each individual procedure. You should always ask your doctor about any concerns or side effects you have regarding radiation exposure before having any medical procedure.

Radiation doses involved in nuclear medicine tests

Although a person can be exposed to relatively low doses of radiation during a nuclear medicine test, it can still pose a risk. High-dose ionizing radiation may cause serious side effects, including cancer. Low-dose radiation used in nuclear medicine tests does not pose a health risk, but the amount of radiation involved in some procedures is still high. To prevent radiation exposure, patients should follow some guidelines before undergoing nuclear medicine tests.

The most common nuclear medicine tests involve the use of radioactive material, or tracer, inside the body. These materials are used to target and destroy diseased organs. Images of the patient’s body can be produced, which allow doctors to determine whether certain organs are functioning normally or are infected with a disease. However, radiation from nuclear medicine tests may cause cancer, so patients should be aware of this risk before undergoing any procedure.

Most nuclear medicine tests involve two types of tracers, Technetium-99m and Gallium-67. Both have a short lifetime inside the body, and are undetectable for hours or even days. The traces in these tests are not harmful to humans. They can only be detected by highly sensitive equipment for a short period of time, usually a few days. Depending on the type of body tissue being examined and the type of tracer used, a patient may need multiple sessions over several days.


Gated SPECT images are generated by counting accumulated counts over time. The cardiac cycle can be divided into several frames, and the higher the number, the better the count density will be in each frame. There is still debate over the optimal frame number, and some physicians prefer 8 frames for better accuracy. Still, it is not impossible to get a good image by using the highest frame number possible. In any case, the technique can be highly beneficial, if used correctly.

The simplest SPECT imaging algorithm is based on a modified Radon transform. It accounts for a variety of geometric effects, including a wide range of attenuation. During the scan, a radioactive substance, or tracer, is administered through an intravenous infusion. This radioactive substance has a very small dose, and can cause a temporary cold sensation. Patients may be asked to lie quietly for about 20 minutes before the scan to allow their bodies to absorb the tracer. Some patients may need to wait several hours or even days after the scan to obtain the results.

During the SPECT scan, the radioactive tracer is absorbed by the body’s cells. The images will show the absorbed tracer in colors, and the brain is no different. Lighter shades indicate less active brain cells, while darker hues represent more active ones. Some images may be gray. Patients should ask their health care team how long the scan will take to provide the results. The Mayo Clinic offers several different types of SPECT imaging.


Nuclear Medicine is the branch of medicine that uses radioactive materials to diagnose and treat diseases. These materials, called radiopharmaceuticals or radiotracers, are injected into the patient’s bloodstream or inhaled. They accumulate within the area under examination, where they are detected by special cameras. Nuclear Medicine is different from PET scans, which only use injected radiotracers. Here’s an overview of the main differences between the two.

Despite the advances in the field of nuclear medicine, the main weakness of PET remains its poor count density in images. The resultant quantification error is caused by intrinsic noise. In contrast to SPECT, PET has a higher signal-to-noise ratio, which increases as techniques improve. Therefore, this technique requires more sophisticated nuclear medicine equipment. And since the cost of PET scanners is very high, it’s essential to choose one with a low intrinsic noise level.

The process of a PET scan is relatively painless and has no side effects. The patient lies on a table that slides in and out of the center of a PET scanner. The technologist will be in a room next to the patient, where they can communicate using an intercom. While the patient is laying on the scanning table, the technologist may ask the patient to hold their breath for about a minute to avoid the imaging process from generating too many blurry images. The scan takes about half an hour. The patient should not experience any pain during this procedure.


SPECT/CT in nuclear medicine is a diagnostic modality used in the diagnosis of cancer, heart disease, and gastrointestinal disorders. Its goal is to image and quantify physiological processes within the body in order to identify disease and injury. SPECT/CT can be used to evaluate many aspects of a patient’s health, from the smallest gastrointestinal disturbance to the most serious illnesses. To learn more about the advantages of this diagnostic test, read on!

SPECT scans are usually done using a gamma camera that rotates around the patient, acquiring one projection every three to six degrees. A full 360-degree rotation is necessary for optimal reconstruction, so it can take as much as 15-20 minutes for a full scan. The gamma camera used in SPECT/CT scans can be multi-headed or dual-headed. They have two or three heads to improve speed and efficiency.

Several studies have demonstrated the accuracy of SPECT/CT for the differentiation of liver hemangiomas. Because they are so vascular, a percutaneous biopsy of liver hemangiomas is risky and carries a high risk of hemorrhage. Therefore, non-invasive modalities like SPECT/CT in nuclear medicine are an excellent option for this diagnostic test. In addition to the invasive nature of hepatic hemangiomas, the SPECT/CT procedure is also associated with lower costs and an increased ability to detect and differentiate liver hemangiomas.