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.
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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.