Nuclear Medicine allows for the creation of images that may seem blurry to the untrained eye, but they allow doctors to get information about specific parts of the body that otherwise would be difficult to see. The SPECT scan below shows the bones of a patient so that they can be examined from several angles:
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Two superimposed images of different patient's kidneys shows how different normal and abnormal kidneys appear under a nuclear medicine scan:
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The Nuclear Medicine Department at All Children’s Hospital has been awarded a three-year term of accreditation as the result of a recent survey by the American College of Radiology’s Committee on Accreditation. The accreditation is a result of a thorough review of the department's imaging services.
“This accreditation demonstrates commitment to quality patient care,” explains Mary Ann Bruton, Director of Radiology at ACH. “The key to accreditation is the quality of our scans. Our pediatric radiologists and technologists work diligently to achieve the highest quality images. In addition, this accreditation also reflects our commitment to patient safety and family-friendly care.”
Nuclear medicine is a special area of diagnostic radiology that uses small, safe amounts of radioactive substances to create vivid pictures of the body’s anatomy and function. A gamma camera takes pictures of one or more parts of the body, often creating 3-D images known as SPECT scans. By tracing the path of the radioactive substance through the body, nuclear medicine scans can provide information about organ function that can’t be obtained by other imaging methods.
Nuclear scans can be used to:
diagnose a range of infections, trauma and tumors in the bone
diagnose some other types of tumors and monitor their growth
identify blockages in the kidney(s) and urinary tract
identify a number of other medical problems
Scans can be as short as 20 minutes or as long as two hours. Even so, fewer than 10 percent of the patients who undergo a nuclear medicine scan at All Children’s need sedation for the study, thanks to the child- and family-friendly atmosphere and the special expertise of our imaging staff. Parents are able to stay with their child during a scan, and patients can even watch TV or a video during the scan.
“Our accreditation is one more way that we provide a high degree of confidence for patients, parents and referring doctors,” says Bruton.
The 30,000 members of the American College of Radiology include radiologists, radiation oncologists, medical physicists, interventional radiologists and nuclear medicine physicians. For over three quarters of a century, the ACR has devoted its resources to making imaging safe, effective and accessible to those who need it. The mission of the ACR is to serve patients and society by maximizing the value of radiology, radiation oncology, interventional radiology, nuclear medicine and medical physics by advancing the science of radiology, improving the quality of patient care, positively influencing the socio-economics of the practice of radiology, providing continuing education for radiology and allied health professions and conducting research for the future of radiology.