Nuclear medicine imaging procedures use a specially designed agent (drug) bound to a very small amount of radioactive material. These substances, called radiopharmaceuticals, isotopes, or tracers, are absorbed by specific organs, bones, or tissues. The radiopharmaceuticals emit gamma rays that are detected by a special camera. The resulting images are then stored and processed. These procedures are performed by a nuclear medicine technologist—a specially trained and licensed healthcare professional who has direct experience in the theory and practice of nuclear medicine. The procedure results are then interpreted by a nuclear medicine radiologist.
At KIMS, we can perform faster scans using dual-head SPECT and dual-head SPECT/CT systems. Our SPECT/CT system can combine CT and SPECT images (fusion images) for 3-dimensional fusion imaging. This capability provides greater anatomical detail, which allows our doctors to precisely locate the functional activity being studied.
Nuclear medicine procedures are very safe. The radiopharmaceutical used and radiation dose given are carefully selected to ensure the minimum radiation exposure to the patient without impairing the accuracy of the test. Radiopharmaceuticals used for imaging studies have a short half-life, which means that they start leaving the patient body within hours.
Nuclear medicine procedures are also used in the treatment of hyperthyroidism and thyroid cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, neuroendocrine tumors that have spread to other organs and pain resulting from cancer that has spread to the bone.