The Kent and Sussex Radiology group offers advanced Nuclear Medicine diagnostic services at the Tunbridge Wells Hospital. The facility is equipped with the latest GE SPECT CT scanner, which provides exceptional image quality by combining dual-headed gamma camera and 16-channel multi-slice CT technology.
The Nuclear Medicine service is led by experienced Radionuclide Radiologists who use functional imaging with the anatomical information of CT, MRI, and ultrasound to produce clinically useful reports for patients. This combination of techniques enables the team to provide greater certainty of diagnosis in challenging areas of imaging. The SPECT CT option also allows for quick imaging and the fusion of previous CT or MRI images with current nuclear medicine data.
Nuclear medicine imaging is considered safe and has few risks. It involves low levels of radiation exposure, which is comparable to other diagnostic imaging tests such as CT scans. Some specific tests may cause side effects, such as increased urination, headache, or mild nausea, but these usually go away on their own within a few hours. In rare cases, an allergic reaction to the radioactive material used during the test may occur. Patients who are pregnant or suspect they may be pregnant should also inform the doctor as some tests may not be safe for the fetus. However, the benefits of nuclear medicine imaging often outweigh the risks, as it provides important information for diagnosis and treatment planning.
- Lung: V/Q scanning is used to diagnose pulmonary embolism in patients with renal failure who cannot receive iodinated contrast administration. Half-dose perfusion studies are performed in pregnant patients to minimize the risk of breast cancer.
- Cardiac: MUGA scans are used to assess the toxicity of chemotherapy in cancer patients.
- Renal: Scans are performed to evaluate differential renal function, scarring, or obstruction. Direct and indirect radionuclide cystograms are used to diagnose vesicoureteric reflux.
- Thyroid: Nuclear medicine is used to assess overactive thyroid disease, thyroiditis, and autonomous nodules.
- Oncology: Bony metastases and sentinel node imaging in breast cancer are evaluated.
- Orthopedics: Bony lesions, metastases, bone infection, avascular necrosis, and post-arthroplasty pain in hip and knee replacements are assessed.
- Endocrine: MIBI scanning is used to diagnose parathyroid adenoma in patients with elevated calcium levels. Octreotide scanning is used to evaluate neuroendocrine tumors, and MIBG scanning is used to diagnose phaeochromocytoma, paraganglioma, and other neuroendocrine tumors.
- GI Tract: HIDA scans are used to evaluate cystic duct obstruction and biliary dyskinesia. Red blood cell scans are used to diagnose acute and chronic GI blood loss. Meckel's scans are used to confirm the presence of a Meckel's diverticulum.