Nuclear medicine is a type of medical imaging that provides detailed pictures of what's happening inside the body at the molecular and cellular level. Molecular imaging, including positron emission tomography (PET), is a type of nuclear medicine that uses small amounts of radioactive material (radiotracer) to track molecular activity in the body. Other types of nuclear medicine include molecular ultrasound and magnetic resonance spectroscopy, which measure chemical levels in the body without the use of an imaging agent.
Advanced Diagnostic Technology
Portsmouth Regional Hospital offers nuclear medicine as an advanced tool for pinpointing and diagnosing a number of medical conditions, sometimes in combination with single photon emission computed tomography/computed tomography (SPECT/CT) and other imaging technology.
Nuclear medicine and molecular imaging procedures, which are noninvasive, safe and painless, are used to diagnose and treat cancers such as thyroid, lymphoma and bone metastases. In some cases, nuclear medicine can be used in place of a stem cell transplant for lymphoma. It is also used in diagnosing and treating:
- Heart disease
- Brain disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Lung disorders
- Bone disorders
- Kidney and thyroid disorders
The Radiation Right safety program at Portsmouth Regional Hospital, where we adhere to nationally approved safety protocols that prevent accidental or excessive exposure, ensures you receive the lowest effective dose of radiation.
How You Benefit
Molecular imaging has been referred to as the biology of disease in real time. Unlike other diagnostic imaging methods that create anatomical pictures—X-rays, computed tomography and ultrasound—molecular imaging lets doctors see exactly how the body functions and measure chemical and biological processes as they happen. These unique insights allow doctors to detect problems in the earliest stages of a disease, often well before structural changes can be seen on CT and MRI, and to personalize your care based on these discoveries.
What to Expect
Your doctor or nuclear medicine technologist will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for your procedure or treatment, depending on the type of molecular imaging prescribed for you.
Explore our whole-person, integrative care offered at Portsmouth Regional Hospital.