nuclear medicine


nuclear medicine

noun

Definition of NUCLEAR MEDICINE

:  a branch of medicine dealing with the use of radioactive materials in the diagnosis and treatment of disease

First Known Use of NUCLEAR MEDICINE

1952

nuclear medicine

noun    (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of NUCLEAR MEDICINE

: a branch of medicine dealing with the use of radioactive materials in the diagnosis and treatment of disease

nuclear medicine

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Medical specialty using radioactive elements or isotopes for diagnosis and treatment of disease. A radioisotope is introduced into the body (usually by injection). The radiation it emits, detected by a scanner and recorded, reflects its distribution in different tissues and can reveal the presence, size, and shape of abnormalities in various organs. The isotopes used have short half-lives and decay before radioactivity causes any damage. Different isotopes tend to concentrate in particular organs (e.g., iodine-131 in the thyroid). Radioactive substances are also implanted to treat small, early-stage cancers. This yields a slow, continuous dose that limits damage to normal cells while destroying tumour cells. See also computerized axial tomography; diagnostic imaging; positron emission tomography; radiation therapy; radiology.

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