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Nuclear medicine 

Nuclear medicine
Chapter:
Nuclear medicine
Author(s):

Drew Provan

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198766537.003.0014
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date: 19 September 2019

Nuclear medicine is a rapidly evolving branch of medical imaging, which uses radionuclides or radiopharmaceuticals for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Nuclear medicine techniques employ a carrier molecule, selected to target the organ/tissue of interest, tagged with a gamma-emitting radioisotope. Nuclear medicine procedures can detect early physiological responses to disease processes, generally before structural changes have taken place. Characterization of abnormalities often relies upon pattern recognition within a particular clinical setting. In this chapter, various procedures and tracers (single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and positron emission tomography (PET)) used in nuclear medicine are described in a systematic way, including their common indications, interpretation criteria, advantages, and pitfalls with classical examples.

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