What is Nuclear Medicine?
Nuclear medicine is used to identify and treat abnormal cells in the body in the beginning stages of a disease, long before symptoms arise. Early detection and diagnosis means early treatment, which can mean a better prognosis for the patient.
Nuclear medicine uses small amounts of radioactive material (radiotracers) and a nuclear imaging camera to look for cell abnormalities. It is extremely sensitive to changes in the function of a tissue, bone or organ. For this reason, it is an integral component in the management, prevention and treatment of many serious conditions, including cancer, kidney disease and heart disease.
Make An Appointment
UC San Diego Medical Center
Mon-Fri: 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Mon-Fri: 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
An on-call technologist and physician are available on weekdays, weekends and holidays.
Two Reasons Why Nuclear Medicine is Used
- Unlike other types of imaging (e.g., X-rays), nuclear medicine diagnostic procedures can provide information about the function of nearly every human organ.
- For even more detail, nuclear medicine scans can be superimposed with CT or MRI, a process known as PET/CT or SPECT/CT (SPECT scan).
Nuclear Medicine at UC San Diego Health
UC San Diego is a leader in the field of advanced nuclear medicine diagnostics and treatments. As an academic health system, our range and quality of services makes us a preferred referral center for many other hospitals and specialty physicians.
Our nuclear medicine team performs a full spectrum of procedures including:
- Brain imaging (with Datscan and Neurolite)
- Xofigo prostate cancer treatment
- Y-90 liver cancer treatment
- GFR kidney function evaluation
More on Nuclear Medicine
Learn more about nuclear medicine in our Health Library:
- Zevalin therapy
- Iodine 131 thyroid cancer treatment (inpatient and outpatient)
- Plasma volume testing
- Nuclear breast imaging
- Breast scan (lymphoscintigraphy) and sentinel node mapping
- BEXXAR therapy for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
- All general nuclear medicine procedures
For more, see Moores Cancer Center.