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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.
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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. 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 used diagnosis of arthritis, bone abnormalities, and various other diagnostics.
Listed below are several radioisotopes and their uses.
Center for Nuclear Science and Technology Information of the American Nuclear Society
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