Nuclear medicine is a unit of radiology that examines organ structure and function with the help of small amounts of radioactive elements. In nuclear medicine, radioactive elements, known as radiopharmaceuticals or radioisotopes, are administered into the body.
Nuclear medicine is a broad phrase that encompasses a variety of fields, including medical, mathematics, physics, chemistry, and computer science. This radiology discipline can detect and treat anomalies early on, such as thyroid cancer, hyperthyroidism, and lymphoma. Also, only a radiologist can perform radiology or nuclear medicine; if you want to get more into the details, then you can find further information for health professionals here.
How Is Nuclear Medicine Used In Diagnosis?
Nuclear medicine can be used to diagnose a variety of illnesses. Patients can be given radiopharmaceuticals in one of three ways: by swallowing, inhaling, or injecting them. Because radiopharmaceuticals are radioactive, the patient is asked to lie down on the table, and the camera is used to capture pictures. The camera’s primary focus is on the area in which this radioactive material is concentrated. This aids the doctor in detecting the issue and determining its location.
Different imaging techniques, such as PET scan (Positron Emission Tomography) or SPECT scan (Single-Photon Emission Computed Tomography), are utilized to photograph the organs. These scans provide a clear view of the organ and information on how it functions. This form of imaging is especially useful for determining the cause of a problem.
These imaging techniques can detect cancer, thyroid problems, heart conditions, and gallbladder diseases. Previously, diagnosing these interior issues necessitated surgery, but nuclear medicine has changed that and simplified the process. These imaging techniques can also detect how well a treatment works after being diagnosed. So, nuclear medicine not only diagnoses but treats also.
How Is Nuclear Medicine Used In Treatment?
The same radioactive procedures used to diagnose the disease are used to treat it; radiopharmaceutical, which detects the diseases, is also administered to treat the disease. The radiopharmaceutical can be inhaled, eaten, or injected, just like the scanning process.
For example, for over fifty years, radioactive iodine has been used to treat hyperthyroidism and thyroid cancer. However, this radioactive element is now employed to treat non-Hodgkin lymphoma and cancer-related bone discomfort. It is injected into the body, and cancerous or thyroid cells will die when they absorb this radioactive iodine. It can be taken as a drink or as a capsule.
Then there is Radioimmunotherapy which is used to treat non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It combines radiation therapy with immunotherapy, a cancer-fighting treatment that imitates cellular activity in the body. Because of the combination of these two treatments, nuclear medicine is directed toward the affected cell.
How Safe Is Nuclear Medicine?
Nuclear medical techniques are, in fact, extremely safe. The experts carefully administer the radiation to ensure minimal exposure and optimum precision. As a result, nuclear medicine and imaging operations are regarded as quite safe. They help diagnose the diseases effectively, so the benefits exceed everything.
Earlier nuclear medicine was used to diagnose and treat thyroid, hyperthyroidism, and thyroid cancer. But now, with the advancement in the medical field, it has expanded into other fields, including oncology, neurology, cardiology, and inflammatory illnesses. It gives doctors the potential to fight diseases at the early stages.
So, in conclusion, it is appropriate to say that nuclear medicine is a painless and secure method of learning about the human body and its health. It offers unique insights into the human body. Nuclear medicine aids doctors in diagnosing diseases sooner, allowing for more effective therapy.