Nuclear Medicine involves the use of radiopharmaceuticals (radioactive agents) to evaluate organs, using low doses of radiation. Nuclear medicine agents show us the physiologic processes of the body. The nuclear medicine agent is detected in the body and then pictures are produced using special imaging equipment. At the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital Pediatric Radiology Department, our board-certified pediatric nuclear medicine radiologists provide the full scope of nuclear medicine imaging, utilizing the latest instruments, computers and radiotracers to diagnosis and treat a variety of diseases in children from newborns to teens.
Radiopharmaceuticals are administered using a variety of methods depending on the exam and include:
- Mixed into food or drink
- Catheter placed in the bladder
- Inhaled through a breathing mask
The time that imaging occurs after the radiopharmaceutical is administered depends on the organ being study and the amount of time it takes for the agent to reach that organ. It can take as little as a minute or as long as a few days.
Pediatric nuclear medicine generally is used to diagnose and/or treat:
- Abnormalities of bone including infection, tumor and fracture
- Urinary blockage or backflow
- Heart conditions
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Thyroid disorders
We offer a full spectrum of nuclear diagnostic and therapeutic services. Our Pediatric Nuclear Medicine Imaging Clinic is comprehensively equipped for radioisotope scanning of the heart, brain, liver, bone, lungs, kidneys and other organs. Most studies are performed at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. Cardiac nuclear medicine studies are performed at the UMHS Cardiovascular Center. Positron emission tomography (PET)/CT scans are performed at University Hospital. Our imaging capabilities include SPECT tomographs, hybrid SPEC/CT tomographs and a hybrid PET/CT scanner. Imaging is closely integrated into the Picture Archiving and Communications System of the Radiology Department.
Our nuclear medicine physicians are also trained to provide nuclear medicine therapy in a few select disease processes, most notably thyroid disease and neuroblastoma.
Providing proper imaging for a child can be challenging. Some children are afraid to be separated from their parents during the test while others are nervous and fidget when they need to be still. Our experienced and compassionate staff understands how to work with children and put them at ease.