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Medical Radioisotopes

Radioisotopes are made in nuclear reactors or in cyclotrons (particle accelerators).  Generally, neutron-rich isotopes and those resulting from nuclear fission need to be made in reactors, and neutron-depleted ones are made in cyclotrons.


Bone imaging is an extremely important use of radioactive properties. Suppose a runner is experiencing severe pain in both shins. The doctor decides to check to see if either tibia has a stress fracture. The runner is given an injection containing a radioisotope with a half-life of 6 hours.
After a several hour wait, the patient undergoes bone imaging. At this point, any area of the body that is undergoing unusually high bone growth will show up as a stronger image on the screen. Therefore if the runner has a stress fracture, it will show up on the bone imaging scan.

This technique is also good for arthritic patients, bone abnormalities and various other diagnostics.

Listed below are several radioisotopes and the applications they are used for.

Reactor Radioisotopes


Cyclotron Radioisotopes


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