MD - Nuclear Medicine

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Nuclear medicine is a medical practice comprising the use of radioactive materials in the diagnosis and treatment of an illness. .

Nuclear medicine is a medical practice comprising the use of radioactive materials in the diagnosis and treatment of an illness. Nuclear medicine scanning essentially is "radiology done inside out" because it reads radiation emanating from inside the body rather than radiation that is generated by outside sources like X-rays. To add to this, nuclear medicine scans deviate from radiology, as the focus is not on imaging the body part, but its function. For this reason, it is termed a physiological imaging modality. Positron emission tomography (PET) and single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scans are the most frequently used imaging modalities in nuclear medicine. In nuclear medicine therapy, the radiation treatment dose is delivered within, either through veins or through the mouth, or externally above the area to treat in form of a compound like in the case of skin cancer. The radiopharmaceuticals used in nuclear medicine therapy discharge ionizing radiation that travels only a short length, thereby decreasing undesired side effects and ruin to noninvolved organs or structures close by. A majority of nuclear medicine therapies can be conducted as outpatient methods as there are negligible side effects from the treatment and the radiation susceptibility to the general populace can be maintained within a secure limit. Nuclear medicine is quite new and developing category of medicine dealing with the application of radio-isotopes for diagnosis and treatment of various conditions especially dealing with Oncology. Many new centers and hospitals are now investing in this branch just like radiology and the need of the hour is for nuclear medicine physicians to run these departments.

The syllabus set by NMC is divided into four parts: diagnostic nuclear medicine and its applicability, basic science aspects of radiation physics and its application to diagnostic/curative nuclear medicine and its applications, diagnostic nuclear medicine and its applications, and recent advances in nuclear medicine. The course equips a student in various ways like being able to characterize undiscovered isotopes, prepare radiopharmaceuticals and their quality control, detection of infection in different workplaces.  Subjects focused are mathematics, statistics & computer sciences, radiation biology & protection, radiopharmaceuticals, diagnostic imaging,   in-vitro studies, instrumentation, therapeutic uses of radionuclides, and organizational considerations.

MD in Nuclear medicine is a 3-year full-time program. Typically, to seek an MD in Nuclear medicine, candidates are required to meet the eligibility criteria as follows: Candidates should have obtained an MBBS Degree from an institution recognized by the Medical Council of India (MCI). The applicant should have completed a 1- year compulsory rotating internship. Work profiles can be divided as government sector educator, corporate dispensary job, own radiodiagnosis centres with MRI and CT and research institutes. But lately, therapeutical work has increased rapidly, with various new therapies becoming accepted and made possible. In most of the premier cancer institutes, Nuclear medicine physicians are present to attend to the work. Practitioners of nuclear medicine follow the emerging concept of ‘Theronostics’ (Therapy+ diagnostics) - discover what to treat and treat what is discovered. Thus they are enabled to help patients by scans, therapy and response assessments and other clinical management including managing side effects, complications and follow-ups.