Nuclear Medicine, which is also known as Molecular Imaging is a way of looking at the human anatomy by detecting the radiation that is emitted after a radioactive tracer or isotope is administered either intravenously, by swallowing or inhalation. These images are captured by a special “gamma camera” and then processed by a dedicated computer where the images become viewable to a Nuclear Medicine Radiologist or Cardiologist for interpretation. The images that are produced not only give physicians an insight into the organs of an individual but unlike traditional x-rays, show us how everything in the body works by assessing whether certain organs and body functions are functioning properly.
Nuclear Medicine can be used to determine the extent of disease in the body. Some of the more common applications are used to detect heart, gastrointestinal, bone, thyroid and lung disease. Every organ can be imaged and assessed for functionality. Some exams may take 30 minutes and others may take two days. Overall nuclear medicine helps us to understand how disease may be spreading and assessing how certain drugs or treatments are working. It can also help us identify individuals at risk for disease.
Nuclear Medicine is such a vital diagnostic tool because it can potentially detect disease in the earliest of stages. Because disease starts at the cellular level, those microscopic changes can be detected at a time where treatment and intervention can make a disease much more treatable. Nuclear Medicine can often detect disease before other conventional imaging and diagnostic test are able to reveal. Nuclear medicine in many areas allows physicians to be more proactive as apposed to reactive in the treatment of a patient which in turn saves and improves countless lives.
Wickenburg Community Hospital is proud to offer this valuable tool to its community. To have Nuclear Medicine capabilities in a rural area gives patients the comfort of close to home services. We recognize the impact of having to drive long distances for your healthcare needs is a hardship and having comprehensive diagnostic healthcare is a goal of WCH. For further questions about Nuclear Medicine or any of our other imaging or diagnostic services, please reach out to Peter Stachowicz at 928-684-4382.