Unit 5 Other Radiological Hazards 5-7 Nuclear Medicine Nuclear Medicine refers to diagnostic techniques that use the gamma rays from a radioactive substance that is introduced into the patient to allow medical professionals to diagnose certain functions of critical organs. The radioactive material is administered with a drug that is chosen carefully because it is preferentially absorbed by the organ that needs to be diagnosed. The distribution of the drug with the gamma-emitting radioactive material is watched in the organ using a gamma-scanning camera. The use of nuclear medicine has increased dramatically over the past two decades, but is still used much less frequently than x-rays. The radionuclide used in over 75 percent of nuclear medicine procedures is Technetium-99m because it can be easily obtained, has a convenient half-life of six hours, and it is suitable for incorporating into a wide variety of drugs allowing for examinations of the brain, liver, and kidneys. Radiotherapy
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