Nuclear Medicine is the use of very small amounts of radioactive material to diagnose and even treat certain diseases. Nuclear Medicine is safe and carries about the same risk as a common x-ray. Its use can help detect a wide variety of conditions such as infection, arthritis, blood clots, heart disease, thyroid disease, stress fractures, and cancer. For many diseases, Nuclear Medicine studies provide the most useful information necessary to make the proper diagnosis and to determine appropriate treatment. The main difference between Nuclear Medicine imaging and other X-Ray tests is that Nuclear imaging assesses how organs function, whereas others imaging methods assess anatomy, or how the organs look. The functional information provided by Nuclear Medicine procedures is unique and currently unattainable by using other imaging procedures. Radiopharmaceuticals (imaging agents) are given in several ways: by intravenous injection, inhaled, by swallowing capsules or a solution. The imaging agent travels to specific organs and tissues dependent on what procedure has been requested. Different agents go to different organs which in turn give off gamma rays. The camera detects these rays and provides images of the specific organs and tissues.
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