Nuclear medicine is a specialty of medical imaging that uses radionuclides and relies on a very scientific process known as radioactive decay in the diagnosis and treatment of disease.
In nuclear medicine procedures, elemental radionuclides are combined with other elements or drugs to form chemical compounds. Once these are administered to the patient, we can then localize specific organs or cellular receptors. The benefit of nuclear medicine is the ability to image the extent of a disease process in the body, based on the cellular function and physiology, rather than relying on physical changes in the tissue anatomy. In some diseases nuclear medicine studies can identify medical problems at an earlier stage than other diagnostic tests.