What is a nuclear medicine specialist?

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A nuclear medicine specialist is an expert in the use of small amounts of radioactive materials to assess body functions and to diagnose and treat disease. Unlike x-rays and some other imaging tools which primarily reveal what an internal body part looks like, a nuclear medicine scan goes beyond that to show how well an organ or other body part functions.

Nuclear medicine uses radioactive tracers, which may be injected into a vein or ingested by mouth, or possibly inhaled or injected into an organ directly, depending on what is being examined or what condition is suspected. The tracer travels through the body and is taken up by specific internal organs, bones or tissues, or remain in the injected organ, causing radioactive emissions from those body parts. A special camera detects those emissions and records the information on a computer screen or film. That picture or scan is then examined by a nuclear medicine doctor or a radiologist who is a specialist in interpreting those scans.

Continue Learning about Diagnostic Imaging

Diagnostic Imaging

Diagnostic Imaging

Diagnostic imaging includes ultrasounds, X-rays, CT scans and MRIs. These create images of different parts of the body and aid in diagnosing diseases and conditions allowing for a course of treatment to be prescribed. Learn more a...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.