Nuclear Medicine is a radiological imaging modality primarily geared towards investigating the functioning features of various organs or organ systems. There are a variety of nuclear medicine studies performed at Norman Regional Hospital on many different organ systems. This includes, but is not limited to, studies on the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver/spleen, colon, stomach, and skeletal system. In addition, there are some "assay," or measurement-taking tests that do not require imaging.
The exposure that one usually incurs from a diagnostic nuclear medicine study is approximately equivalent to a diagnostic X-ray exam. Though the X-ray exam is much shorter, nuclear medicine tracer doses are much smaller. After injection, the patient will be imaged with a Nuclear Medicine Gamma Camera. This device emits no radiation, but detects the radiation that was injected in the patient. Most of the tracers that are used in the Nuclear Medicine Department on a daily basis do not carry any significant risk of allergic reaction.
A final area of Nuclear Medicine is therapy. In some cases, a stronger type of radiation can be used to alter certain kinds of cells in a therapeutic manner to improve the condition of the patient. However, most Nuclear Medicine studies are simply diagnostic and, therefore, do not alter the condition of the patient.
Nuclear Medicine results are interpreted by a radiologist who is a physician trained to supervise and interpret radiological examinations. The radiologist will analyze all the images taken during your exam and send a signed report to the ordering physician this will take 24 to 48 hours, additional copies can be sent upon request to primary care physicians or specialists. The ordering physician or your primary care physician will go over the results with you.