10 Things You Didn’t Know About Nuclear Medicine

In honor of National Nuclear Medicine Week (October 2-8), we’ve put together a list of facts you may not know about the study of Nuclear Medicine. But before we begin, here’s a little refresher about the topic: nuclear medicine is a branch of medicine that uses radioactive substances to image your body. In other words, it provides doctors another way to look inside your body in a non-invasive manner to search for tumors, aneurysms, inadequate blood flow, blood cell disorders, and more. Here are a few additional interesting points you may not know about nuclear medicine.

  1. An estimated 16 million nuclear medicine imaging and therapeutic procedures are performed each year in the United States. Of these, 40 – 50% are cardiac exams and 35 – 40% are cancer related.
  2. Nuclear medicine has been around for at least 58 years.
  3. There are nearly 100 different nuclear medicine imaging procedures available today.
  4. Unlike other tests, procedures, etc., nuclear medicine provides information about the function of virtually every major organ system within the body.
  5. Nuclear medicine procedures are among the safest diagnostic imaging tests available.
  6. The amount of radiation in a nuclear medicine procedure is comparable to that received during diagnostic x-ray.
  7. Children commonly undergo nuclear medicine procedures to evaluate bone pain, injuries, or kidney and bladder function.
  8. Nuclear medicine procedures are painless and do not require anesthesia.
  9. Common nuclear medicine applications include diagnosis and treatment of hyperthyroidism (Graves’ disease), cardiac stress tests to analyze heart function, bone scans for orthopedic injuries, lung scans for blood clots, and liver and gallbladder procedures to diagnose abnormal function or blockages.
  10. There are approximately 4,000 board certified nuclear medicine physicians and 15,700 certified nuclear medicine technologists worldwide.

Ozarks Community Hospital has an extensive list of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine services available in Springfield, Mo. For more information about the tests and services offered, visit http://ochonline.com/patients-and-visitors/services/diagnostic-imaging-services/ or call (417) 837-4000.

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