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What is Nuclear Medicine?

Nuclear medicine imaging is a specialized area of radiology that uses small amounts of radioactive materials to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of many types of conditions and diseases, including cancer. These imaging procedures can provide information about the anatomy of a patient’s body and the function of their organs. ImageCare Centers provides nuclear medicine imaging in New Jersey with our state-of-the-art PET/CT scanners.

During a nuclear medicine imaging procedure, a small amount of radioactive material is administered either orally or intravenously, and the material collects in specific organs. A gamma camera is then used to detect the energy being emitted from the substance, and an image is captured. A physician can use these images to diagnose and treat a variety of bone and soft tissue diseases in their earliest stages. Some of the uses of nuclear medicine imaging include:

  • Evaluating the body’s organs for abnormalities in metabolic function or structure
  • Evaluating the spread or regression of cancer before, during, and after treatment
  • Identifying bone infection or prosthetic loosening after a joint replacement
  • Identifying blood clots in the lungs
  • Determining heart function or the presence of critically blocked coronary arteries
  • Aiding in locating the sentinel node for breast cancer or melanoma surgery
  • Localizing the intestinal bleeding site in acute GI bleeding
  • Assessing gallbladder dysfunction or gallstone obstruction

Aside from some discomfort at the injection site for those patients who receive the radioactive material intravenously, a nuclear medicine exam is painless and does not expose the patient to any more radiation than a common X-ray. The patient will need to remain completely still during the procedure so that the clearest images possible can be obtained. The whole-body scan will then generate high-resolution images of abnormal metabolic activity and its precise location to diagnose and treat cancer and other diseases or conditions. When it comes to cancer diagnosis and treatment, these images can help physicians:

  • Locate the site of the cancer
  • Determine the size of the tumor
  • Distinguish whether growths are benign or malignant
  • Determine whether cancer has spread
  • Determine the appropriate course of treatment
  • Monitor the success of treatment
  • Detect any recurrent tumors

ImageCare Centers provides cancer screening services in northern New Jersey for patients whose doctor has requested a PET/CT scan for them. Contact our professional and caring staff to schedule an appointment at one of our convenient locations.