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Medical Usage of Radiation in the Techniques: Pet Scan and Raiu

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Submitted By caomicc
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Medical usage of Radiation in the Techniques: PET Scan and RAIU

PET Scans are a common medical diagnostic tool used to see inside the body to look for diseases. It stands for positron emission tomography. This technique uses a tracer, which is radioactive. When the tracer is injected, it coats the paths it flows through, attaching itself to tissues and veins inside the person undergoing the scan. Because of the fact that it is injected into the bloodstream, which goes all over the body, it can be used to look into most tissues however generally not bone. Common PET scan uses are for looking at the brain, heart, lungs, and breast. Tracers are known to not have a long half-life, due to the fact that doctors do not want us to have prolonged exposure to radiation. One of the common tracers in positron emission tomography is Carbon-11. The radioactive change that Carbon-11 undergoes is:

As with every medical procedure, there are risks and benefits. A main risk with PET scans is the fact that using a tracer, which is radioactive, will give the patient a dose of radiation that they would normally not come in contact with. This amount of radiation per PET scan is able equivalent to two X-rays. Some people should not undergo PET scans because their body may not be able to handle the radiation. An example of a person who should not undergo a PET scan is pregnant women, as radiation can cause harm to fetal development.

RAIU, or radioactive iodine uptake test, is another test that uses a radioactive tracer. This test, however, focuses on how much of the admitted tracer gets absorbed into the subjects thyroid. Like PET scans, RAIU is a diagnostic tool designed to help doctors determine how hard the patients’ thyroid is working. Radioactive iodine uptake test is used to test for disorders and diseases of the thyroid. Disorders include cancer, hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. This test, like PET scans, uses a radioactive tracer. In this test, the radioisotope used is Iodine-123. Iodine-123 has a short half-life of 13 hours, meaning it is safe(r) to use in the human body. The radioactive change that iodine-123 goes though is:

RAIU tests are risky as are many other medical procedures. The use of a radioactive tracer inside the body can be riskier for some, including pregnant women. Because they focus on one section of the body, instead of looking all over, they patient may not be able to take their medicine for their thyroid because it could impair the readings of the test. This is something doctor’s needed to take into account when using this tool, because if the patient cannot go the time without their thyroid medication, it can cause complications. Benefits of using this testing technique include a better understanding of the patient’s thyroid and aids doctors in how to specialize treatment.

Works Cited
" PET (positron Emission Tomography) Scan." Positron Emission Tomography. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2015.
"Radioactive Iodine Uptake Test." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2015.
"Use of Iodine-123." National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 25 Feb. 2015.

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