Nuclear Medicine is that branch of medicine which utilizes radioactive isotopes, usually linked to an organic molecule, for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Very tiny amounts of radioactive isotopes are administered, either intravenously or orally. These then localize in certain organs or areas of the body and are imaged with sophisticated electronic detectors and computers, which provide diagnostic information in a variety of disease states. In most procedures, the radiation exposure is less than that received from an x-ray examination.
Although other imaging modalities such as MRI, CT and Ultrasound can provide exquisite anatomic information, their ability to provide functional information is more limited. Nuclear medicine can provide functional and molecular information not available from other modalities giving it a unique niche in Diagnostic Imaging.
The Division of Nuclear Medicine is the largest Nuclear Medicine department in western Massachusetts and offers a wide variety of imaging procedures. These include imaging a variety of endocrine organs, including the parathyroid and thyroid, and treatment of a variety of thyroid diseases with radioactive isotopes. Bone scans are used to detect a wide variety of diseases affecting bone. Ventilation and perfusion lung scans are used primarily to screen patients with possible pulmonary embolism but are also used in a variety of other disease states affecting lungs. Gated cardiac blood pool studies are used to assess cardiac function. Gated and non-gated myocardial perfusion imaging is provided to assess coronary artery disease. Biliary imaging (also known as HIDA scans) are used for diagnosing gallbladder disease and other diseases of the biliary tree and liver; liver scans are used to diagnose and assess diseases of the liver and spleen; monoclonal antibody scans are used to stage and image a variety of tumors. GI blood loss studies are used to verify active bleeding into bowel and help to localize such bleeding. Radioactive isotopes can be used in a variety of tumors for both imaging and staging. There are a variety of less common nuclear procedures which are also available. Treatment of painful bony metastases with radioactive isotopes is also available.
Pet Scans provide a powerful diagnostic and staging procedure for a large number of tumors and are also helpful in some situations in persons suffering from intractable seizures and selected cases of coronary artery disease.
Emergency nuclear procedures are available 24 hours a day, seven days per week.
We welcome any questions or inquiries. The department can be reached by calling 413-794-4660 or 413-794-4659.
Recently, in cooperation with Shields Imaging, Baystate Medical Center and two other hospitals in the State have acquired access to a new GE Advantage Mobile PET Scanner. This scanner provides unique information about tumors based on the molecular metabolism of certain tumors. This allows us to diagnose and simultaneously stage a number of tumors including lung, colon, breast and esophageal tumors, malignant melanoma and lymphomas. This will provide invaluable and unique information about the stage, spread and/or recurrence of these tumors, providing important information to internists, surgeons and oncologists. To schedule a PET Scan call: 1-(866)-258-4738.