Procedures - Nuclear Medicine

The RIMA nuclear medicine division is led by Dr. Olga Lyass and offers the full complement of both diagnostic and therapeutic nuclear medicine procedures. RIMA provides services that are both hospital and outpatient clinic based utilizing state of the art equipment.

Nuclear medicine refers to a discipline of medical imaging that utilizes small amounts of radioactive material to diagnose or treat a wide variety of conditions. This includes many types of cancer, heart disease, and endocrine disorders such as thyroid conditions. After the isotope has been administered (most commonly into a vein or taken by mouth), it accumulates in the organ or area of your body being imaged, where it gives off energy in the form of gamma rays. This energy is detected by a device called a gamma camera. In conjunction with an advanced computer, the amount of the radiotracer absorbed by your body is measured and specialized images offering details on both the structure and function of organs and tissues is produced.

Unlike other imaging techniques, nuclear medicine imaging studies are less directed toward picturing anatomy and structure, and more concerned with depicting physiologic processes within the body, such as rates of metabolism or levels of various other chemical activity. Areas of greater intensity, called “hot spots”, indicate where large amounts of the radiotracer have accumulated and where there is a high level of chemical activity. Less intense areas, or “cold spots”, indicate a smaller concentration of radiotracer and less chemical activity.

Nuclear medicine also offers therapeutic procedures such as radioactive iodine (I-131) therapy that uses radioactive material to treat cancer and other medical condition of the thyroid. In radioactive iodine (I-131) therapy, radioactive iodine (I-131) is swallowed, absorbed into the bloodstream in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and concentrated from the blood by the thyroid gland where it destroys cells within that organ. RIMA offers the full gamut of such procedure in our different locations.

The following are the most common uses of general Nuclear Medicine in both diagnosis and treatment.

• Visualize heart blood flow and function ( myocardial perfusion scan)
• Evaluate the skeletal system for tumors, infection, arthritis, and fractures
• Measure thyroid function to detect over or underactive thyroid
• Locate the presence of infection ( indium labeled white blood cell study)
• Identify inflammation of the gallbladder
• Identify active bleeding into the bowel
• Investigate abnormalities in the brain sucah as seizures, memory loss, and blood flow
• Analyze kidney function
• Localize lymph nodes before surgery in patients with breast cancer or melanoma

• Radioactive iodine (1-131) therapy used to treat hyperthyroidism ( overactive thyroid such as Graves disease) and thyroid cancer
• Radioactive antibodies used to treat certain forms of lymphoma
• Radioactive phosphorus (P-32) used to treat certain blood disorders
• Radioactive materials used to treat painful tumor metastases to bone

Nuclear Medicine Services: