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PET, SPECT & Nuclear Medicine

At Ballad Health, we have scanners so powerful they can get all the way down to your cellular and subcellular levels. These images are so accurate and reliable, they serve as an ally in the fight against cancer, heart disease and neurological disorders.

Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear Medicine is a type of scanning procedure that typically involves giving patients small amounts of radioactive substances – usually by vein, mouth, or inhalation – to create incredibly detailed images of the body.

A nuclear medicine scan then uses a special camera in conjunction with the small amount of radioactive material to create pictures of your organs (such as your heart, lungs, liver, and gallbladder) and bones. Nuclear medicine scans may be used to both diagnose and treat disease. Some types of nuclear medicine scan commonly used include:

  • PET scans (Positron Emission Tomography)
  • SPECT scans (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography)
  • PET/CT scans (PET/Computerized Tomography)

PET Scans

It’s been called “a new window into the body”. Positron emission tomography, or PET, is a kind of nuclear medicine imaging technique, which involves the use of small amounts of radioactive materials to produce a detailed image of the body.

In conjunction with digital imaging, PET scanning is an incredibly powerful diagnostic tool, allowing physicians to detect cancer, heart disease and brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s. PET also helps us manage diseases ranging from epilepsy and stroke to cancers of the brain, lung, breast, esophagus, colon, pancreas, ovary, musculoskeletal system, skin and lymphatic system.

Such specific, reliable data can eliminate the need for multiple diagnostic tests as well as reduce unnecessary biopsies and surgeries. That’s part of the Ballad Health’s commitment to patient safety and service excellence.


A single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) scan lets your doctor analyze the function of some of your internal organs.

While imaging tests such as X-rays can show what the structures inside your body look like, a SPECT scan produces images that show how your organs work. For instance, a SPECT scan can show how blood flows to your heart or what areas of your brain are more active or less active. SPECT scans can also be used to detect hidden bone fractures as well as bone cancer.

PET/CT Scans

When it comes to detecting and treating an illness, two scans are better than one. So Ballad Health offers patients a new diagnostic tool that combines computed tomography, or CT, with positron emission tomography, or PET.

Our mobile scanner combines two of the most advanced diagnostic procedures into one. Because we’re able to see tumors and malignancies with greater accuracy than ever before, PET/CT is proving a powerful ally in the fight against cancer, heart disease and neurological disorders. The scanner also helps manage epilepsy and stroke as well as many kinds of cancers—brain, lung, breast, esophagus, colon, pancreas, ovary, musculoskeletal system, skin and lymphatic system.

With two tests (also known as “hybrid tests”), we get more accurate information, which means less room for error. And with such specific, reliable data, we can eliminate the need for multiple diagnostic tests and reduce unnecessary biopsies and surgeries.

Accredited, High-Quality Imaging

Several Ballad Health locations are accredited in Nuclear Medicine tests by the American College of Radiology (ACR). That means you benefit from:

  • Strict steps we take to make sure your test is performed the right way and leads to correct results
  • Highly qualified staff
  • Up-to-date technology

PET, SPECT & Nuclear Medicine Locations

130 W. Ravine Rd.
Kingsport, TN 37660
(423) 224-4000
2000 Brookside Dr.
Kingsport, TN 37660
(423) 857-7000
400 N. State of Franklin Rd.
Johnson City, TN 37604
(423) 431-6111
16000 Johnston Memorial Drive
Abingdon, VA 24211
(276) 258-1000
100 15th St NW
Norton, VA 24273
(276) 439-1000