Educational Descriptions of Major Modalities

Nuclear Medicine Technology - Nuclear Medicine scans record images of selected organs and tissues following the absorption of a small, safe amount of a radiotracer in the body. The images are obtained by a special gamma camera that detects radioactivity. Nuclear medicine is unique in that it documents organ function and structure. Nuclear medicine is used in the diagnosis, management, treatment and prevention of serious disease.

The following types of studies are performed at Woodburn Nuclear Medicine:

Bone SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography)
This nuclear medicine imaging technique utilizes a computer to create multiple cross-sectional pictures or "slices" of the area being studied. Bone SPECT studies are commonly used to detect bone tumors, fractures and infections.

A brain scan is performed to evaluate the brain or its blood circulation to and from the brain (perfusion imaging). Cisternography evaluates the flow of cerebral spinal fluid around or in the brain.

Nuclear medicine breast imaging is combined with mammography to better identify cancerous tissue. Nuclear imaging is particularly useful when mammography results are difficult to interpret because of dense breast tissue, prior biopsy or surgery.

These scans are performed to evaluate blood flow to the heart muscle, to measure heart function or to determine the quality of the heart muscle following a heart attack.

Gastrointestinal (Liver and Gallbladder)
Gastrointestinal studies evaluate function and rule out inflammation, infection, disease and tumors.

Genitourinary (Ovarian Cancer/Colorectal/Prostate Imaging)
These studies use monoclonal antibodies, which are special disease-fighting substances. The antibodies combine with the radiotracer to detect tumors in the ovaries, colon or prostate.

Ventilation and perfusion lung scans are performed to analyze the flow of blood and movement of air into and out of the lungs, as well as to determine the presence of blood clots, infection or tumor

Therapeutic Treatment - (Radioiodine Treatment)
Radioiodine therapy is used for the treatment of an overactive thyroid gland. The thyroid gland accumulates the iodine entering your body in food and uses this iodine to perform its normal functions, which is to make thyroid hormone. The thyroid processes radioiodine in a similar manner. The radiation emitted by the radioiodine decreases the function of the thyroid cells and inhibits their ability to grow, which is the desired medical effect.

Thyroid uptake scans are performed to analyze the overall function of the thyroid and structure of the gland. Thyroid imaging is used to evaluate cancerous and non-cancerous conditions. Radioiodine treatment for the thyroid is a common therapeutic procedure.