Nuclear medicine imaging involves the administration into the patient of substances labelled with radioactive tracers which have affinity for particular tissues.
The heart, lungs, thyroid, liver, gallbladder, and bones are commonly evaluated for particular conditions using these techniques. While anatomical detail is limited in these studies, nuclear medicine is useful in displaying physiological function. As such, processes such as the growth of a tumor can often be monitored, even when the tumor cannot be adequately visualized using any of the other modalities.
The principal imaging device is the gamma camera which detects the radiation emitted by the tracer in the body and displays it as an image. Often the information is converted into a series of slices through the body. In the most modern devices Nuclear Medicine images can be fused with a CT scan taken at the same time so that the physiological information can be overlayed on the anatomical structures to improve diagnostic accuracy.