Nuclear medicine is a subspecialty of medical imaging that uses radioactive materials and special imaging techniques to study both the structure and function of organs and other tissues inside the body. It allows your doctor to obtain the information he or she needs without resorting to more expensive or invasive procedures. The versatility of this specialty makes it valuable in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer, heart disease, neurological disorders and many other medical conditions.
In a typical nuclear medicine exam, you are given a small amount of radioactive material as an injection into a vein or in the form of a pill. This material collects in the area of concern, where it releases energy in the form of gamma radiation. A gamma camera then detects that energy and uses it to create the images and information your physician will need to determine if the organ or structure being examined is working correctly.