The Principles of Nuclear Medicine
The term nuclear medicine may be defined as the use of atomic nuclei’s abilities and nuclear physical methods of measurement in medical diagnostics and therapie. Gamma radiation (Electromagnetic waves) is set free in the body during radioactive decay of radionuclides. It is capable of passing through thick tissue layers and may also be detected outside the body. There are radionuclides used in nuclear medicine that are an isotope of elements having a known distribution in the body, or can be built into chemical compounds (Biotracer) and into the natural metabolism.
Those radioactive atoms can be used in such small doses that there is no influence on cell metabolism at all, as the radiation exposure is very small. Thus examinations in nuclear medicine are so-called functioned examinations. Besides the advantage of a detecting abnormal changes, during examinations there often is a higher sensitivity than under normal procedures. An image illustration of corporal activity distribution is called a Scintigram, which is also possible as tomographic scintigraphy (using a Gamma-Camera). Using this method, a functioned-morphologic illustration in section technique can be created. This has a high information value about the dimension and extent of a disease, which becomes particularly important during follow-up therapy-controlling-examinations.
Processes in nuclear medicine are non-invasive, which means that examination substances are only injected intravenously no discomfort whatsever, so that the patient doesn´t feels.
Examples of diagnostics:
- Thyroid Gland
- Cardiac muscle perfusion (Myocardial-Scintigraphy) in rest and under stress
- Renal function diagnostics (Measure of side-divided renal functions)
- Bone Scintigraphy (Inflammation, Search for metastases, early fracture evidence)
- Brain blood circulation / perfusion