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O'Connor Hospital


 O'Connor Hospital

Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine allows physicians to view molecules inside your body that they can’t see on X-rays or other imaging devices. At O’Connor Hospital, we provide a broad spectrum of the latest diagnostic and therapeutic nuclear medicine services. Our goal is to ensure the most accurate testing and treatment possible.

We use nuclear medicine to diagnose and treat many diseases and abnormalities at the earliest stages, including:

  • Certain types of cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Neurological disorders

Nuclear Medicine Medical Director Chi-Kwan Yen, MD, leads the highly qualified and specialty-trained team of nuclear medicine technologists. With more than 30 years of experience in this field, Dr. Yen has been the department director since 1995. Board-certified nuclear medicine physicians supervise and interpret all nuclear medicine exams.

Nuclear Medicine Diagnostic Exams

During a nuclear medicine exam, we place a very small amount of radioactive material (radiotracers) into your bloodstream. We can deliver the material through injection, or you may swallow or inhale it. Because the amount of radiotracers used is so small, the procedure is safe, and your exposure to radiation is very low. The material helps us get an accurate image of your organs so we can pinpoint tumors or other organ abnormalities. Nuclear medicine is also used to diagnose cardiac, gastrointestinal, endocrine and kidney function problems.

At O’Connor, we use the latest diagnostic equipment to perform a comprehensive array of exams, which include:

  • Bone density: We mainly use this test, also called a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), to diagnose osteoporosis.
  • Bone scan: Commonly used to diagnose cancer, fractures and infections, this test can also detect other bone conditions earlier than a standard X-ray.
  • PET/CT scan: A combined PET (positron emission tomography) and CT scan can provide a more detailed picture of what’s going on in your body than either exam on its own. The PET scan measures how well certain body functions are working, such as blood flow and oxygen use.
  • Sentinel lymph node mapping: This advanced procedure helps physicians better detect and treat certain types of cancers.
  • Thyroid scan: This scan evaluates the function and structure of your thyroid.

Nuclear Medicine Therapeutic Procedures

Nuclear medicine therapeutic procedures use radioactive material to help kill or reduce the size of a tumor or cancerous tissue.

Our therapeutic procedures include:

  • Thyroid cancer treatments: We use radioactive iodine to kill cancer cells, but the material has little effect on the rest of your body.
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland) treatments: This is similar to thyroid cancer treatment, but the treatment kills gland cells instead of cancer cells.
  • Zevelin treatment: This treatment combines radiation therapy and immunotherapy to treat non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • Radioisotope bone pain palliation and treatment: When cancer spreads from one part of the body to the bone, it’s called secondary cancer. Radioactive therapy helps relieve bone pain and treat the cancer.

Contact Us

For more information or to make an appointment, call (408) 947-2970. You can usually receive an appointment within a week of your call.

Monday - Friday | 8 AM - 4:30 PM