Nuclear MedicineJavier Villanueva-Meyer, MD


Villanueva-Meyer, Javier

Javier Villanueva-Meyer MD
Director of Nuclear Medicine
Clinical Associate Professor

The section of Nuclear Medicine provides diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, including cardiac, hematology and oncology, and endocrine services (particularly thyroid disorders and parathyroid disease). The section also offers a comprehensive range of diagnostic gastrointestinal, genitourinary, musculoskeletal, pulmonary, and neurologic exams.

A few examples of specific studies include bone mineral densitometry with DEXA for osteoporosis, labeled leukocyte imaging for abscess localization, exercise and pharmacologic myocardial perfusion imaging, monoclonal antibody imaging for detection of prostate, whole-body thallium imaging, and SPECT for the detection and grading of tumors.

Therapeutic procedures include the use of radioactive iodine treatment of hyperthyroidism and thyroid cancer, strontium or samarium therapy is provided for painful bony metastases. New antibody therapies labeled with yttrium-90 (Zevalin) and I-131 (Bexxar) are also being utilized for patients who are no longer responding well to their chemotherapy. In partnership with interventional radiology, radioembolic therapy with yttrium-90 spheres (SIR-Spheres and Theraspheres) are going to be utilized for therapy in primary and metastatic liver cancer patients.

Equipment for the section of Nuclear Medicine includes: three variable angle SPECT cameras (one of which is coincidence/PET capable), a single head spot camera with SPECT capabilities, a multi-slice PET/CT scanner. We expect to have our second SPECT/CT scanner in service real soon.

For bone densitometry, we use Hologic DEXA units which measures AP spine, lateral spine, hip, wrist, and whole body regions. In Victory Lakes and Pearland Imaging Center, we use the Lunar system.

The Nuclear Medicine section is working hard to integrate new imaging tracers, modalities, and therapies as they become available to better serve the regions patient population and keep the Department of Radiology at the leading edge of imaging practices.

Two small animal SPECT-CT-PET are under our Nuclear Medicine license to perform cutting edge research.

Molecular Imaging of the breast will available soon with new Dillon Breast Specific Imaging Camera.

PET/CT and SPECT/CT Hybrid Systems

Recent, technical advances have resulted in the combination of SPECT or PET scanners together with X-ray computed tomography (CT) in a single camera system. These hybrid systems yield maximum information and a complete set of pictures with a single noninvasive imaging study, by integrating functional information from nuclear imaging with morphologic information for CT.

Cardiovascular Nuclear Medicine

To continue its longstanding history of leadership in biomedical imaging, the Section of Nuclear Medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, has recently enhanced and expanded its services with the most advanced nuclear imaging systems and additional expert clinicians.

The novel SPECT/CT and PET/CT scanners now incorporate the most modern PET and SPECT detection methods with state of the art multi-slice X-ray CT to increase diagnostic accuracy.

Cardiac imaging at the highest possible standard is thus available for the workup of suspect or known cardiovascular disease. This program is continuously updated through incoming developments from our cardiovascular research program that will include calcium channel scoring in-conjunction with myocardial perfusion scan.

UTMB's Department of Radiology is accredited by the American College of Radiology in: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI),
Computed Tomography (CT), Nuclear Medicine, and Ultrasound. It is also recognized as a Center of Excellence for Breast Imaging.