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Christie hospital.

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Introduction

Tahir Ahmed L6G

Physics coursework

Mrs Boardman

Christie hospital

     Physics can also be used for medical purposes as we found out when we visited Christie hospital. There I saw how a gamma camera and ultrasound work. A gamma camera has two main uses; one of them is to treat cancer and the other is to diagnose medical conditions. Gamma rays are very penetrating and are able to ionise cells. This is why gamma materials should be treated with great care because they are not good for healthy cells. However cancer cells are mutating and dividing out of control, if the gamma radiation is directed at these cells it can be used to destroy this tumour. A gamma source is added to another chemical to carry it into and around the body. The gamma rays emitted are detected by the gamma camera and a picture of the inside of the body is formed. For example, if there is a blockage in a particular organ, the gamma source will not get to that part of the body and this will show up on the gamma camera scan.

image00.jpg

                                                    A gamma camera

image01.jpg

                                      The bone scan shows up arthritic joints


     Patients who are going to have this sort of treatment are injected with a radioactive drug depending on

  • The type of radiation
  • The energy of the radiation
  • The organ to be studied or treated
  • The rate of radioactive decay
  • The rate of clearance from the body
...read more.

Middle

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     The lead shield is used to try and minimise the amount of background radiation, this is so that the background radiation doesn’t affect and get mixed up with the gamma radiation.

Benefits versus risks

Benefits

  • One of the obvious good things about a gamma camera is that is less traumatic than an exploratory surgery.
  • The functional information provided by gamma camera examinations is unique and currently impossible by using other imaging procedures. For many diseases, gamma camera studies produce the most useful information needed to make a diagnosis.

Risks

  • The gamma camera procedure will result in exposure to a small dose of radiation. However, the doses of radiopharmaceutical given are the smallest possible and there are no known long-term adverse effects from such low-dose studies.
  • This procedure can be dangerous to women who are pregnant or are allergic to the radiopharmaceutical, however that is very rare.

     One of the main strengths of this sort of treatment is that is cheap compared to most other treatments, its £50 a dose. However I feel that this is still quite expensive. Another strength is that it is a successful treatment.

     A limitation is that cyclotran’s are big and expensive, they sometimes even cost more than the scanner itself.

Ultrasound

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Conclusion

  • Development of heat – The tissues or water absorb the ultrasound energy, which increases their temperature locally.
  • Formation of bubbles (cavitation) – when dissolved gases come out of the solution due to local heat caused by ultrasound

     There are also some other problems with ultrasound; there are very strong reflections from air and bones so it is difficult to see through these tissues. Higher frequencies have a shorter wavelength and therefore a better resolution but less penetration, so the frequency and penetration have to be balanced. Also it needs a skilled person to interpret what they see.

     There are some good points to ultrasound though; it is very good at showing structure and movement without having to use radiation like x-rays. Diagnostic ultrasound is a simple, safe and cheap procedure, which is used in all hospitals. Also there have not been any substantial ill effects of ultrasound recognised in either humans or animals.

     Just like other computer technology ultrasound is most likely going to become faster and have more memory for storing data. 3D ultrasounds will get be more highly developed and more popular. Currently a research group are working to develop and make a system to look directly inside a patient using augmented reality. This could be a powerful and instinctive tool that could be used to assist and to guide the physician during various types of ultrasound-guided procedures.

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