What is Nuclear Medicine?
Nuclear medicine is an imaging technique in which low levels of radiopharmaceuticals (radioactive material) or tracers are administered orally or injected into the body to enhance the images of different areas of the body. The radiopharmaceuticals are specially formulated to be temporarily collected in the body part being studied. The tracer emits gamma rays which are detected by nuclear cameras and are enhanced by computers to form images of the abnormality or disease. There are virtually no side effects to any of the medications used, and the amount of radiation exposure is extremely minimal.
Nuclear medicine techniques are applied for the diagnosis, management, therapy and prevention of many medical conditions. Nuclear medicine can detect diseases such as heart disease, arthritis and cancer.
Common Nuclear Medicine Tests
- Brain scan. These are used to investigate problems within the brain and/or in the blood circulation to the brain.
- Breast scan. These are often used in conjunction with mammograms to locate cancerous tissue in the breast.
- Bone scan. This scan is used to: evaluate any degenerative and/or arthritic changes in the joints; find bone diseases and tumors; and/or determine the cause of bone pain or inflammation.
- Gallium scan. These are used to diagnose active infectious and/or inflammatory diseases, tumors, and abscesses.
- Gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding scan. These scans help locate the sites of either a gastrointestinal or non-gastrointestinal bleeds, which include the stomach and small and large intestines.
- Heart scan. These are used to identify abnormal blood flow to the heart, to determine the extent of the damage of the heart muscle after a heart attack, and/or to measure heart function. Learn more about the Cardiac Stress Lab.
- Hepatobiliary Duct System (liver, gallbladder and bile ducts). Your doctor may recommend this scan to diagnose: bile duct obstruction; bile leakage; congenital abnormalities in the bile ducts; gallbladder inflammation (cholecystitis); and gallstones
- Kidney (renal) scan. A renal scan is used to examine the kidneys and find any abnormalities. These include abnormal function or obstruction of the renal blood flow.
- Perfusion scan. Your doctor may recommend this scan to: find a blood clot that is preventing normal blood flow (perfusion) to part of a lung (pulmonary embolism); evaluate the flow of blood or air through the lungs; or observe which parts of the lungs are working and which are damaged.
- Thyroid scan. These are used to evaluate thyroid function or to better evaluate a thyroid nodule or mass.
Our Nuclear Medicine Partner
Knoxville Nuclear Medicine is dedicated to providing the highest quality diagnostic images possible, while maximizing patient safety. By working closely with healthcare providers, Knoxville Nuclear Medicine ensures that the scans it provides can help lead to faster and more accurate diagnoses.
Brian Clarke, owner of Knoxville Nuclear Medicine, started his company in order to provide patient-centered diagnostic services. As a native of Knoxville, Brian has deep roots in the community, often performing nuclear medicine imaging tests on people he’s known for decades. Brian’s rapport with patients and relationships with the referring physicians has made him the top choice for nuclear medicine services. He has been serving Knoxville Hospital & Clinics since 1997.
Nuclear medicine services require a physician referral. If you have questions about the services offered at the Knoxville Hospital & Clinics, call Nuclear Medicine at 641-842-1467.