Nuclear medicine is a branch of diagnostic imaging and therapy where radiostopes are administered and imaging is done by gamma cameras which detect the radiattion given by radioisotopes. Generally radioisotopes are tagged with some compounds called tracers such as MDP, DTPA, SESTAMIBI etc. which follow certain physiologic pathways of human body thereby allowing to assess the function of certain organ unlike CT/X-ray which only gives anatomical information.
These procedures are relatively safe as the compound injected are in trace quantities usually nanogram levels and the radiation burden to the patient is also low. Also a vast majority of these procedures noninvasive. There are various procedures like Cardiac, Bone, Renal, parathyroid, thyroid, liver/spleen, hepatobiliary scans.
Nuclear medicine also has some therapeutic procedures for oncological cases like 131 IODINE therapy for pap ca thyroid, 131I MIBG for neuroendocrine tumors, Lu 177 DOTATATE for neuroendocrine tumors and pain palliative therapies 89 Strontiun, 32 Phosphorous.
Though nuclear medicine is there for the past 40 – 50 years, there are only 4 – 5 centres in Kerala performing both diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.