The gamma camera is a machine that allows two-dimensional imaging of physical processes within the body using a radiopharmaceutical.
A radiopharmaceutical is a drug to which radioactive atoms are attached so the location where the drug is concentrating in the body can be easily detected. There are different types of these drugs designed by manufacturers to concentrate in different patient organs and tissues that are of interest to their doctor in diagnosing disease.
Gamma cameras detect high-energy “gamma” photons from the radioactive atoms in the patient’s body. These photons escape the patient’s body and enter the gamma camera after passing through a collimator, which is a set of metal tubes organized in the style of a matrix. The high-energy gamma photons meet a detector called a scintillation crystal, which converts them into light. This light is then amplified and processed by the camera to reveal the distribution of the radiopharmaceutical in two dimensions.
Gamma cameras are an important imaging tool that doctors can use to help diagnose diseases, monitor heart function, and image other physiological processes.