Nuclear medicine specialists in Arizona engage in a number of different medical areas of expertise. They handle all matters of nuclear medicine tests. They conduct and interpret the results of lung scans, bone scans, single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scans and positron emission tomography (PET) scans.
These diagnostic tests are very wonderful for nuclear medicine specialists and their patients alike, due to the fact that they are almost always both noninvasive and painless for patients. They are very useful for physicians due to the fact that they are more useful than normal radiology procedures. They offer more detailed scans than normal radiology procedures, which makes them often able to detect abnormalities earlier in the disease process.
Nuclear medicine tests are used to look at the brain, heart, kidneys, thyroid, kidney, gallbladder, bones and gastrointestinal (GI) tract. They can be used to locate blockages and infections in the body. They are also used to evaluate the organ function and blood flow. Other uses are to find arthritis, tumors, bone fractures and other disorders or injuries.
When nuclear medicine specialists in Arizona conduct a test, they inject a tiny amount of a radioactive substance into the patients body. This radioactive substance can be put into the patients body through intravenous, oral or pulmonary means. Once in the body, the radioactive substance distributes throughout the body in different amounts. It also emits gamma rays.
The gamma rays can be detected by some kind of special device, like a probe or a scanner. The device detects the amount of gamma rays in the area of the body that is being focused upon, and then a computer uses the information to create images of the body. Nuclear medicine specialists then study the images, thereby detecting abnormalities in the body.
As well as performing these tests, specialists can also administer forms of therapy with nuclear medicine. For example, one popular treatment is iodine therapy. During this treatment, the patient swallows radioactive iodine. The radioactive iodine is then absorbed by the thyroid gland, which has the wonderful benefit of destroying any abnormal tissue that is present in the patients thyroid gland. There are many thyroid conditions that will benefit from this iodine therapy, such as Graves disease, hyperthyroidism, goiters, thyroid cancer and thyroid nodules.
Nuclear medicine specialists need to follow stringent safety protocols to avoid radiation exposure. They use devices to constantly monitor radiation levels. They also wear safety gear such as aprons and shields that contain lead that block radiation. They also use equipment such as syringes and containers containing lead.