Posts Tagged ‘what is nuclear medicine’

The Role of a Radiologist

role of radiology Depending on the illness or injury that brought them there, people tend to walk into their doctors’ offices with several questions that will hopefully guide them onto the path of recovery.  As new technologies develop and diagnostic systems advance with ever-increasing accuracy, the discussions between doctor and patient can become complex.  In order to properly diagnose and treat all of the injuries and diseases that occur within the human body, it is important that patients have a clear understanding about radiological procedures and all of its benefits.

A recent study presented at the annual Radiological Society of North America meeting determined that more than 64% of respondents stated that they had little or no understanding regarding the critical role of radiologist.  To clarify, radiologists specialize in producing pictures of the human body using state-of-the-art imaging technology, such as X-rays, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).  These medical specialists are central members of the multidisciplinary clinical care team who play a vital role in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and injuries within adults and children, including babies and unborn fetuses.

Since Peninsula Radiological Associates is affiliated with the esteemed Riverside Health System, patients are offered the following specialties and services:

•    CAT Scans, which display several different types of tissue
•    X-rays, which identify and treat bone fractures
•    DEXA Scans, which measure bone loss and density
•    Embolization, which stop blood supply to destructive tumors
•    MRI, which diagnose cancer, vascular disease, and neurological disorders
•    Musculoskeletal imaging, which pinpoint spinal disorders and arthritis
•    Nuclear medicine, such as PET scans, which evaluate respiratory problems and organ function
•    Radiofrequency Ablation, which locate and eliminate tumors using electrical energy

Of course, there are several other imaging procedures available through the dependable care of our board-certified radiologists Women’s Imaging, for example, includes a wide range of valuable services related to breast cancer, such as digital mammography and image guided biopsy.

Because these terms can appear confusing or overwhelming to some patients, we uphold the ideas behind the “Radiology Cares” initiative, which seeks to effectively promote effective communication between the patient and healthcare providers.  As a result, our patients are empowered to make informed decisions regarding their rehabilitative care.

Overall, direct communication is essential to improving our community’s awareness of the dynamic role radiologists play in healthcare. Even more importantly, direct interactions with these specialists will enhance patient understanding and maintain comfort regarding their undergoing tests and procedures. These are the goals that we strive to achieve on a daily basis in order to provide the best healthcare possible.

We strongly encourage patient education, and are always ready and willing to answer any questions regarding your health.

What is Nuclear Medicine and How is it Used?

Nuclear MedicineAt Peninsula Radiology Associates, one of our core beliefs is that our patients deserve to know in detail about any radiologic procedures or scans they or their loved ones plan to have at one of our facilities. This month, we focus on exactly what “nuclear medicine” is and how it is used by doctors to diagnose and treat patients.

Nuclear medicine is a medical specialty which uses radioactive “tracers,” also known as radiopharmaceuticals, to evaluate the status of bodily functions and to diagnose and treat disease. It is safe and painless.

The term “radiopharmaceutical” refers to the combination of medicine (a pharmaceutical) attached to a small quantity of radioactive material (a radioisotope) introduced into your body in order to facilitate scanning. Which radiopharmaceutical will be used depends upon your procedure, but all are FDA-approved.

Radiopharmaceuticals can be injected into a vein, inhaled as a gas or swallowed. The radiotracer gives off gamma radiation as it decays, allowing a gamma camera to scan the radiation area and create a moving image which details, for example, your gastrointestinal system as it processes the radiopharmaceutical through your body. Your particular radiopharmaceutical is designed to go to a specific place in your body where disease or an abnormality may be suspected.

Gamma cameras, placed a few inches from your body, do not transmit any radiation to patients, unlike other imaging devices such at computed tomography (CT) scanners and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). They are silent, not rattling noisily as some scanning machines do. Nuclear medicine imaging carries no risk of long-term radiation exposure.

Nuclear medicine procedures often can identify abnormalities quite early in the progression of a disease. This early detection allows a disease to be treated sooner rather than later, when a more successful prognosis is likely. Radiologists can make diagnoses based on the way patients’ bodies are known to handle substances in the “health” state versus the “disease” state.

Nuclear medicine can be used for many diagnostic functions, including:

  • Identifying abnormal lesions deep within the body without exploratory surgery.
  • Determining whether or not certain organs are functioning normally: whether your heart is adequately pumping blood; whether your brain is receiving an adequate blood supply; and whether your brain cells are functioning normally.
  • Evaluating your kidneys for normal function, and discerning whether your stomach is emptying properly.
  • Determining your blood volume, lung function, vitamin absorption and/or bone density.
  • Identifying the sites of seizures.
  • Finding cancers, determining how they respond to treatment and determining whether infected bones will heal.

Please do not hesitate to contact us at Peninsula Radiology Associates if you have any questions or concerns regarding your nuclear medicine procedure. To schedule an appointment with us at any of our seven convenient locations, please call (757) 989-8830. Don’t worry; at PRA, you are always in good hands!