In the world of medical care, nuclear medicine is one of the many fancy terms that makes you feel intimidated as soon as you hear it. For those who do not know what a nuclear medicine test consists of, the prospect of having to undergo one is even scarier! But fear not, it’s nowhere near as bad as it sounds — trust us.
Nuclear medicine is an imaging resource that allows radiologists to see organs and body functions through the emission of radioactive materials, which the patient is given to consume.
What this means for the patient is simple: the consumption of some material in the form of sugar (injected, swallowed, or inhaled) loaded with a short-lived radioactive tracer. After about an hour, the radioactive tracers seep into organ tissues, giving the organs a bioluminescent
appearance. With the help of a nuclear medicine test such as a PET scan, radiologists can use the bioluminescence to identify abnormalities.
A Positron Emission Tomography, otherwise known as a PET scan, is the imaging device that conducts the nuclear medicine test, oftentimes in conjunction with a CT scan to ensure the best diagnosis.
A PET scan is useful in evaluating Oncology treatments for cancer, the response to treatments for cancer, or whether an abnormality is malignant. It is also used to evaluate the brain (particularly for Alzheimer’s disease and seizure disorders) and the heart muscles after a heart attack.
PET scans work in conjunction with radioactive tracers to diagnose any malignancies or abnormalities in a person’s organs or bodily functions. Once the radioactive tracers attach to a person’s organs, the PET scan machine uses special cameras to provide in-depth pictures and molecular information.
PET scans are able to detect diseases in their earliest stages, sometimes before there are even any symptoms. They are vital in providing the most advanced diagnostic results by illuminating functional and anatomical information that is unattainable with other procedures.
Having to undergo an imaging test is hardly enjoyable, even if it painless. We understand that the process alone is stressful, and we’re here to help. If you or someone you know has to undergo an imaging procedure in the near future, make sure to come in well informed and with plenty of questions. To schedule an appointment for an imaging test or for more information, contact us today!