What is nuclear medicine imaging?

Nuclear medicine imaging is a method of producing images by detecting radiation from different parts of the body after a radioactive tracer is given to the patient. The images are digitally generated on a computer and transferred to a nuclear medicine physician, who interprets the images to make a diagnosis.

Radioactive tracers used in nuclear medicine are, in most cases, injected into a vein. For some studies, they may be given by mouth. These tracers are not dyes or medicines, and they have no side effects. The amount of radiation a patient receives in a typical nuclear medicine scan tends to be very low.