Nuclear Medicine and MRI services are completed at Kootenai Health in the Heart Center. Below is a brief overview of these services.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a technique that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the organs and tissues within your body. Most MRI machines are large, tube-shaped magnets. When you lie inside an MRI machine, the magnetic field temporarily realigns hydrogen atoms in your body. The addition of our 3T MRI has brought patient care to an entirely new level. MRI Services is located at Kootenai Health in the Heart Center.
3T (tesla) represents the highest level of technology available and is the choice of most universities and academic medical centers. Its larger opening gives patients 60 percent more room with twice the power of other MRIs. That means patients have a more comfortable experience and doctors have a better quality image to review for a more accurate diagnosis.
Complete MRI Care
MRI Services also operates a state-of-the-art, high-field unit with capabilities for MR imaging, MR angiography and MR Spectroscopy. With multiple specialties and many years of experience, Kootenai radiologists are trained to interpret these images to find abnormalities throughout the body. MRI services continually upgrades equipment to produce the highest quality images available.
This subspecialty of radiology offers information about both the anatomy and the function of organs in the body.
For nuclear medicine procedures, patients receive a chemical compound containing a small amount of a radioactive substance called a “tracer” either by injection into a vein in the arm, swallowing a pill, or inhaling the compound through a breathing device.
During the scan, the body part being imaged is positioned close to a special detector, called a gamma camera. The camera does not produce any radiation. It simply records the signals broadcast by the tracer.
Nuclear Medicine Imaging Types
A positron emission tomography (PET) scan reveals how organs and tissues are functioning, as opposed to MRI and CT scans, which show the structure of organs and blood flow.
Sentinel Node Biopsy
The surgery that removes lymph node tissue to look for cancer is called a sentinel node biopsy. A special tracer substance is injected into the area around the original cancer site. The drain pattern can help show how the cancer may spread.
Nuclear medicine procedures are very safe. Patients receive an extremely small amount of radioactive material so radiation exposure is minimal. Only as much radioactive material as is necessary to provide diagnostic information is used. Most tests require no special preparation by the patient.
Nuclear medicine images can assist the physician in diagnosing diseases. Tumors, infection and other disorders can be detected by evaluating organ function. Specifically, nuclear medicine can be used to:
- Analyze kidney function
- Image blood flow and function of the heart
- Scan lungs for respiratory and blood-flow problems
- Identify blockage of the gallbladder (cystic duct)
- Evaluate bones for fracture, infection, arthritis or tumor
- Determine the presence or spread of cancer
- Locate the presence of infection
- Measure thyroid uptake to detect hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism