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Nuclear medicine is a medical specialty that uses radioactive products for the purpose of diagnosis and therapy.
Nuclear Medicine focuses on analyzing biological changes in human organs, in order to assess their function, covering several medical areas such as Cardiology, Pulmonology, Neurology, Endocrinology, Orthopedics, Oncology, Pediatrics, Nefro-Urology, Rheumatology, among most other specialties.
Radioactive elements (isotopes) are connected to different drugs thereby forming radiopharmaceuticals. Radiopharmaceuticals are administered to the patient, mainly by intravenous injection, but depending on the disease and the organ under study can be administered by other means (oral, inhaled, subcutaneous, etc.).
After administration of radiopharmaceuticals images of the human body are obtained with the use of a Gamma Camara and transmitted to a computer. These images are called Scintigraphy. This test detects the radiation of the patient's body which are then analyzed by a Specialist in Nuclear Medicine.
It is also possible, in addition to the image of the function of the organs of the human body (not its shape), to verify in a qualitative and quantitative function of the entire body.
In addition to obtaining an accurate diagnostics, it is also possible to treat the diseases by the administration of radiopharmaceuticals.
Scintigraphy is a safe diagnostic method causing no discomfort to the patient. The amount of radioactivity administered is very low, and is carefully selected for each person and each specific case (taking into account age, sex and disease), allowing the minimum radiation exposure for each case study.
A Nuclear Medicine Scintigraphy study, has less exposure to radiation than a conventional X-ray and far inferior to a CT Scan.
These examinations are harmless, they are made not only for adults but also for children, in some cases infants of only a few days old are also submitted to these examinations.
Scintigraphys are sometimes called cintigramas.