Nuclear medicine is a branch of medical imaging that uses small amounts of radioactive material to diagnose and determine the severity of or treat a variety of diseases, including many types of cancers, heart disease, gastrointestinal, endocrine, neurological disorders and other abnormalities within the body. Because nuclear medicine procedures are able to pinpoint molecular activity within the body, they offer the potential to identify disease in its earliest stages as well as a patient's immediate response to therapeutic interventions.
Nuclear medicine imaging procedures are noninvasive and, with the exception of intravenous injections, are usually painless medical tests that help physicians diagnose and evaluate medical conditions. These imaging scans use radioactive materials called radiopharmaceuticals or radiotracers.
Some of the diagnosis procedures offered in Dr. KMH include (but not limited to),
Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT):
SPECT scans are primarily used to diagnose and track the progression of heart disease, such as blocked coronary arteries. There are also radiotracers to detect disorders in bone, gall bladder disease and intestinal bleeding.
Positron Emission Tomography (PET):
The major purpose of PET scans is to detect cancer and monitor its progression, response to treatment, and to detect metastases.
Fused CT-PET Scans:
A combination instrument that produces both PET and CT scans of the same body regions in one examination (PET/CT scanner) has become the primary imaging tool for the staging of most cancers worldwide.
The main difference between SPECT and PET scans is the type of radiotracers used.
The following investigations are done in our Nuclear Medicine Lab:
Visualize heart blood flow and function (such as a myocardial perfusion scan)
Detect coronary artery disease and the extent of coronary stenosis
Assess damage to the heart following a heart attack
Evaluate treatment options such as bypass heart surgery and angioplasty
Evaluate the results of revascularization procedures
Detect heart transplant rejection
Evaluate heart function before and after chemotherapy (MUGA)
Scan lungs for respiratory and blood flow problems
Assess differential lung function for lung reduction or transplant surgery
Detect lung transplant rejection
Evaluate bones for fractures, infection and arthritis
Evaluate for metastatic bone disease
Evaluate painful prosthetic joints
Evaluate bone tumors
Identify sites for biopsy
Investigate abnormalities in the brain in patients with certain symptoms or disorders, such as seizures, memory loss and suspected abnormalities in blood flow
Detect the early onset of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease
Assist in surgical planning and localize seizure foci
Evaluate for abnormalities in a chemical in the brain involved in controlling movement in patients with suspected Parkinson's disease or related movement disorders
Evaluation for suspected brain tumor recurrence, surgical or radiation planning or localization for biopsy
Stage cancer by determining the presence or spread of cancer in various parts of the body
Localize sentinel lymph nodes before surgery in patients with breast cancer or skin and soft tissue tumors
Evaluate response to therapy
Detect the recurrence of cancer
Detect rare tumors of the pancreas and adrenal glands
Analyze native and transplant kidney blood flow and function
Detect urinary tract obstruction
Evaluate for hypertension related to the kidney arteries
Evaluate kidneys for infection versus scar
Detect and follow-up urinary reflux
Identify inflammation or abnormal function of the gallbladder
Identify bleeding into the bowel
Assess post-operative complications of gallbladder surgery
Evaluate fever of unknown origin
Locate the presence of infection
Measure thyroid function to detect an overactive or underactive thyroid
Help diagnose hyperthyroidism and blood cell disorders
Evaluate for hyperparathyroidism
Evaluate stomach emptying
Evaluate spinal fluid flow and potential spinal fluid leaks
Nuclear medicine therapies include:
Radioactive iodine (I-131) therapy used to treat some causes of hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland, for example, Graves' disease) and thyroid cancer
Radioactive antibodies used to treat certain forms of lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system)
Radioactive phosphorus (P-32) used to treat certain blood disorders
Radioactive materials used to treat painful tumor metastases to the bones
I-131 MIBG (radioactive iodine labeled with metaiodobenzylguanidine) used to treat adrenal gland tumors in adults and adrenal gland/nerve tissue tumors in children.
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