Nuclear medicine is one of the advanced branches of medicine. Nuclear medicine involves the administration of some radioactive substances into the patient’s body. These substances are administered to diagnose and to treat the condition later on. The radioactive medication which is given to patients is called radiopharmaceutical.

The injection of these radioactive substance makes the human body slightly radioactive and for a short period of time. A camera, or better yet nuclear medicine camera, further detect these emitting radiations from the patient’s body and use them to capture the images of the inside working of the human body. This technique is used for different organs.

Different Ways to Administer Nuclear Medicine

There are different ways to inject the nuclear medicine. The radioactive medication is frequently injected into the patient’s blood through a vein. However, some of the other ways include;

  • Swallowing
  • Injection into the tissues under the skin
  • Injection into shunt
  • Injection into the joint
  • Inhalation

Normally the dose of radiopharmaceutical is small, keeping the radiation to a minimum. However, when we use nuclear medicine to treat various conditions and diseases, then the dose is much higher. The dose directly goes into the malfunctioning or diseased organ.

Nuclear Medicine Specialist

These are doctors who hold specialized training in this branch of medicine. These doctors are usually also trained in various specialties, such as cardiology, radiology, oncology or may be diagnostic ultrasound.

Benefits of Nuclear Medicine

The study of nuclear medicine helps the specialists in the evaluations of any particular area or organ in the body. It helps them in determining the functionality of these organs. It gives out the information regarding the effects of any disease, injury or infection, affecting the patient’s body. This also helps them in determining the improvement and even deterioration of any certain abnormality, once the patient has been through a treatment. This advanced medication and its results are not only helpful in determining the functionality of the body’s organ system, but it also works well with other imaging studies.

Risks of Nuclear Medication

For a patient, the risks of nuclear medication are usually minimal. These risks include radiation risk and allergic reactions.

These allergic reactions are usually minor and very rare. However, any patient who has an allergic reaction to any medication must inform the doctor or nurse supervising the case, and before getting radiopharmaceutical. While the chances of cancellation of the study are rare, this helps the doctors in close monitoring and to ensure that any reaction is dealt or treated immediately.

Nuclear Medicine and Normal CT and X-Ray

The basic difference between the nuclear medicine and normal CT or X-ray is that; during CT or X-ray examination, the image is created from the radiations which pass through the human body instead of emitting from within the patient’s body. While nuclear medicine reflects the physiological function of the organ or body area, other conventional imaging systems only reflect the structure or anatomy of the organ or body area.

The studies of nuclear medicine may be based on the entire body. Some of the examples of these techniques include the octreotide scans, whole-body PET scan, gallium scan etc.