How We Can Help
Nuclear Medicine Treatment Information
Our nuclear medicine specialists use a variety of radioactive materials to pinpoint signs of disease. These materials are safe chemical compounds that collect in certain parts of your body. For example, the thyroid gland takes iodine from the blood. By using a compound containing radioactive iodine, we can see your thyroid during the scan.
We also use nuclear medicine to treat conditions that respond to radiation, such as thyroid cancer. The radioactive iodine we inject goes to your thyroid and destroys the tumors. IU Health is known for effective use of nuclear medicine to treat thyroid cancer.
Nuclear medicine is highly specialized. Many physicians rely on our radiologists to interpret scans and to treat disease when appropriate. Some medical specialties, such as orthopedics, have nuclear medicine radiologists dedicated to testing specifically for conditions those specialties treat.
Nuclear medicine imaging services we offer include:
- Cardiovascular imaging. Injection of a specific radioactive material allows us to see how your heart functions. We detect conditions such as damage from a heart attack or disease in the arteries supplying blood to your heart. Information from cardiovascular imaging often allows surgeons to decide what treatment is best for a particular condition.
- Bone scans. Radioactive material attracted to your bones reveals conditions such as arthritis, bone tumors and hidden fractures.
- Locating and staging cancer. Particular types of cancer—such as thyroid cancer and breast cancer—attract certain radioactive compounds. When radioactivity gathers in tumors and other cancerous tissue, we see the extent of the cancer clearly. This shows us where the cancer is and helps us stage it. Staging is the process of determining the location and size of tumors, and the extent to which cancerous tissue has metastasized (spread throughout the body). Accurate staging is necessary to treat cancer effectively.
- Treating cancer. We use radioactive iodine to treat thyroid cancer. The thyroid accumulates iodine as part of its normal function. Radioactive iodine attracted to the thyroid destroys cancer cells and shrinks thyroid tumors.
- Positron emission tomography–computed tomography (PET-CT). One machine combines the functions of PET and CT. PET takes pictures of the radioactive substance in your body while CT provides images of surrounding tissue. A computer combines pictures from both scans. The result is a 3-D image of the part of your body being examined and its location in relation to other tissue.
- PET–magnetic resonance imaging (PET-MRI). Similar to PET-CT scanning, PET-MRI combines images from both technologies to produce images of a specific part of your body in relation to the tissue around it.
Nuclear Medicine Locations & Physicians
Use the search options below to find treatments available in your area.
Find a Specialist
Enter a Zip Code to find a specialist at IU Health.
Nuclear Medicine Support Services
Find out how to prepare for your nuclear medicine scan so you can work more effectively with our physicians and staff.
A Sampling of Nuclear Medicine Support Services
The American College of Radiology and Radiological Society of North America includes extensive information about the many uses of nuclear medicine and has links to additional resources.
The American Society of Clinical Oncology features education about the use of PET-CT for diagnosing and staging cancer.