MD Imaging performs a wide range of Nuclear Medicine procedures at our modern imaging center on 2020 Court Street in Redding. Scans offered include cardiac stress and viability studies, gallbladder and liver imaging, thyroid and parathyroid scans and renal, skeletal and lung scans. Additionally, PET or positron emission tomography, the newest part of Nuclear Medicine, is offered for the convenience of our north state residents.
Nuclear Medicine is a specialized area of radiology that uses safe, painless and cost-effective techniques to image the body and treat disease. Nuclear Medicine is the subspecialty of radiology that images bodily function rather than anatomy. Nuclear Medicine differs from radiology whereas it documents function and structure. By using small amounts of radioactive substance or radiopharmaceutical in the bloodstream, a Nuclear Medicine Radiologist is able to take pictures or scans of certain organs inside your body.Nuclear Medicine procedures differ from most other types of diagnostic imaging procedures in one distinct way. While x-ray, ultrasound and MRI focus on the appearance of an organ or system in the body, Nuclear Imaging is a functional imaging modality. It records the function of a system, giving information that often compliments existing scans from other modalities to complete the picture of what is occurring with a patient’s health.
Various techniques used in Nuclear Medicine include Positron Emission Tomography (PET), Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT), Cardiovascular Imaging, and Bone Scanning.
Through the use of radiopharmaceuticals, either injected into a vein or taken orally, Nuclear Medicine Technologists can record information about how a system functions without the need for more invasive procedures. A radiopharmaceutical is simply a low level radioactive isotope, specially developed for use in medical imaging, which is often paired to a pharmaceutical agent that directs it to the organ of interest. These isotopes are given in small doses and are referred to as short-lived because of their rapid clearance from your body. For many of these exams, a waiting period, or uptake time is necessary for your body to circulate and absorb a sufficient amount of the radiopharmaceutical to allow for a high quality result. Further information about preparation and lengths of exams will be provided when scheduling with our facility.
Doctors and Chemists have identified a number of agents which are absorbed by specific organs. The thyroid, for example, takes up iodine, the brain consumes glucose, and so on. This allows doctors to use small doses of safe agents to image various organs inside your body.
Patients will often wonder why they need a nuclear medicine study, such as a PET scan when they have already had a CT or MRI? The most common reason is because of the different type of information gathered with functional imaging. As mentioned earlier, most scans look at the appearance or morphology of an organ or system, while nuclear medicine concerns itself with functional information. Frequently, a nuclear medicine scan can provide results pointing to dysfunction or disease long before the physical symptoms would indicate the specific condition. This can allow for earlier treatment with greater success.