Usage of Radioisotopes in Medicine

970 Words4 Pages
Uses of Technetium Technetium-99m is the single most important radioactive isotope used for medical diagnostic studies. It accounts for nearly 85% of all diagnostic imaging procedures in nuclear medicine. In this application, the radionuclide is chemically attached to a drug chosen for its tendency to collect in a specific organ of the body, and this solution which is your tracer, is then injected into the patient. After a short time, an image can be collected using a radiosensitive detector such as a scintillation counter or gamma camera. This technique is useful for: • Evaluating the medical conditions of major organs and other tissues • Studying blood flow • Identification of cancerous metastases • Brain blood flow (brain scan image) • Lung scans before and after surgery • Identifying bone diseases and tumors. Gamma Camera Radionuclide imaging is the technique that allows physicians to obtain a very clear image of various parts of the body. The tracers emit gamma rays, which can be detected by a gamma camera. The information collected by this machine is reconstructed by computers to create an image of the target area of the patient's body. Properties of Technetium-99m Technetium-99m is one radioactive isotope of the man-made element technetium. It is the favored choice of the medical profession for several of its properties. Technetium-99m has a half-life of six hours. This is very short (compared to technetium-99 for example, which has a half-life of 214 000 years), which enables metabolic processes to be examined, while minimizing the radiation dose of the patient. This allows a patient to leave soon after the procedure is over. While decaying, technetium-99m emits only gamma rays and low energy electrons. There are n... ... middle of paper ... ...eates a problem for delivery of the isotope. This is why a parent isotope is used, as 99Mo has a longer half-life to 99mTc, and can be transported more efficiently. Conclusion By producing "parent" radioisotopes in a nuclear reactor, it is possible to create a vast number of "daughter" isotopes. Each of these will have different characteristics and properties, making them suitable for use in many different medical, industrial and scientific applications. When used correctly, radioisotopes can have a number of benefits, including lifesaving medical procedures. The health risks associated with the use of radioisotopes have been widely documented and debated, and even at one point, suppressed by Congress. However, with the correct precautions these risks can be reduced or even eliminated and radioisotopes will continue to be an integral part of modern day society.

More about Usage of Radioisotopes in Medicine

Open Document