Molecular Imaging & Nuclear Radiologists
Nuclear radiology and molecular imaging is a field of radiology that images the body and treats disease using materials called radiopharmaceuticals. Within this field, molecular imaging uses these radiopharmaceuticals to image at the molecular and cellular level. A radiopharmaceutical is a compound that has a small chemical attached to a radioactive molecule. Depending on the chemical, the radiopharmaceutical goes to different tissues in your body such as the liver, bones, kidneys, thyroid, etc. and is taken up by injured or diseased tissue in different amounts than in surrounding healthy tissue. When used for imaging, the radiopharmaceutical is detected by specialized scanners that process the information into accurate images of disease. The amount of radiation in a typical nuclear imaging exam is comparable to other types of x-ray imaging. When used for treatment, the radiopharmaceutical targets the disease and eliminates it. The amount of radiation in a typical treatment is primarily confined to the area of disease and is kept within safe limits.