St. Luke's University Health Network

Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear Medicine uses a tracer to help diagnose and treat diseases

Nuclear medicine involves the use of small amounts of radioactive materials (tracers) to help diagnose and treat a variety of diseases. Nuclear medicine determines the cause of the medical problem based on the function of the organ, tissue or bone. Nuclear medicine tests are safe and painless. In a nuclear medicine test, the radioactive material is introduced into the body by injection, swallowing or inhalation. Different tracers are used to study different parts of the body. A special camera, called a Gamma Camera, takes pictures of the inside of your body by detecting the tracer in the organ, bone or tissue being imaged and then records this information on a computer screen or on film.

Today, nuclear medicine offers procedures that are helpful to a broad span of medical specialties from pediatrics to cardiology to psychiatry. Our newest technology combines nuclear medicine with X-ray in a technique called functional anatomic mapping. This procedure enables the radiologist to pinpoint the exact location of a tumor.

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