Applications in Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine is a “high tech” medical imaging speciality that uses radiolabelled molecules known as radiopharmaceuticals for diagnosis and therapy. For the safe and effective use of these radioactive tracers a range of equipment is used for measuring, monitoring and imaging patients. The imaging equipment includes gamma cameras and Positron Emission Tomography PET scanners. These instruments contain radiation detectors that are capable of detecting the radiation that is emitted from the patient following radioactive decay and producing an image of the uptake in the patient.

Following administration of the tracer to the patient, images are recorded by the camera and the qualified medical specialist (the radiologist or nuclear medicine physician) can then diagnose abnormalities form the normal pattern of uptake. The diagnostic investigations cover a range of medical conditions and are important in oncology, cardiology endocrinology and neurology.

Most imaging equipment used in nuclear medicine such as gamma cameras and scanners are large instruments. Gamma Technologies is developing smaller high resolution devices for use in the operating theatre, intensive care units and at the patient bed side. This will further expand the range of procedures that may be undertaken and will be of particular assistance to surgeons in the localisation of tumours and lymph nodes during surgery.