Dar Es Salaam Medical Students' Journal

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Unnoticed but important two in one

L Salingwa


Introduction: Nuclear medicine is a branch of medicine that uses small amounts of radioactive material to diagnose and determine the severity of some diseases and on the other hand treat a variety of diseases.
Diagnostic Part: This involves administration of a radionuclide with an affinity for an organ or tissue of interest followed by the recording of the distribution of radioactivity with a stationary or scanning external scintillation camera (commonly a Gamma camera). Basing on the radioactivity pattern, a disease condition is diagnosed and/or its severity
(or distribution) determined.
Interventional Nuclear Medicine: This involves use of ionizing radiation energy (short range beta rays) from a radioactive material introduced into the body to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. An important example is radioactive iodine (I131) therapy in thyroid hyperactivity.
Conclusion: The resolution of structures of the body when using nuclear medicine may not be as high as with other imaging modalities such as CT or MRI but is more sensitive especially when coupled with CT such as in PET/CT; and the functional information gained from it is often unobtainable when other imaging modalities are used.

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