Nuclear Medicine

nuclear1Division of Nuclear Medicine

The field of nuclear medicine is consistently advancing treatments for cancer and numerous other diseases, and in doing so, transforming the future of patient care. The Division of Nuclear Medicine at the University of Virginia is at the forefront of modern clinical medicine and technological progress in this area.

Clinical service is provided at the main hospital as well as the Emily Couric Cancer Center—a National Cancer Institute Designated Cancer Center—directly across the street from the main hospital.

Nuclear medicine is one of the most effective methods to check for the recurrence of cancer. Unlike other imaging techniques that identify disease and disorders based on structural appearance (X-ray, MRI, etc.), nuclear medicine imaging techniques employ a very small amount of radioactive material to diagnose and treat diseases and conditions based on the function of the organ, tissue, or bone. A typical scan consist of three stages: first, a radiopharmaceutical agent is administered to the patient; next, gamma camera detectors capture an image from the radiation emitted by the radiopharmaceuticals that have accumulated in the area of interest; then a radiologist examines the resulting 3-D images of the physiological functioning of the affected area.

Also used is Positron Emission Tomography (PET) which employs the latest technology, PET and CT. PET-CT combines PET and CT in a single machine that provides information about metabolism linked to CT anatomy in a single exam. This modality is available for all approved clinical indications, including oncologic, neurologic, and cardiac.

Education: Fellowship Program

We offer an ACGME-accredited one-year fellowship in Nuclear Radiology to candidates who have completed a residency in diagnostic radiology at an ACGME-accredited institution. Candidates must also have ABR or equivalent certification and the ability to obtain a license to practice medicine in Virginia. More >

Medicare Eligibility

Medicare beneficiaries (with Medicare as their primary insurance) who are referred for FDG-PET for those oncologic indications that are not currently reimbursable under Medicare or for NaF-PET to evaluate bony metastases are eligible to participate in the NOPR. The Indications Table lists the cancers and indications that are accepted for FDG-PET in the NOPR 2009 registry. More >


Our division is engaged in numerous research endeavors to advance knowledge and promote the practical application of nuclear medicine. Areas of study include:

  • Small gamma camera utilization in clinic and operative room
  • Dual modality (x-ray and gamma) breast imaging
  • Molecular imaging (microPET) system for small animal research
  • Integrated CT-SPECT system for small animal imaging
  • Radiotracer tumor localization for surgical procedures


A new radiopharmaceutical treatment is available that improves survival and better controls symptoms for men with bone metastases due to castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). More >

Benefits of PET/CT

  • Improved tumor detection and localization
  • Precise staging of disease
  • Better monitoring of cancer recurrences
  • Excellent image quality and spatial resolution
  • Provides information on BOTH physiology and anatomy
  • Shorter scan time then PET only machine, resulting in  improved patient comfort and convenience
  • Convenient electronic fusion with CT and MRI for diagnosis and treatment planning
  • PET/CT studies are covered by Medicare and most other insurance