Nuclear medicine is a type of imaging that uses radioactive materials (called tracers) to identify and diagnose diseases and abnormalities within the body. The tracers are either injected into the bloodstream, inhaled, or swallowed. A specially designed gamma ray camera is then able to follow the tracers and produce images of specific body parts. This medical subspecialty is able to provide insights that other imaging procedures are unable to produce, and is usually less expensive and more precise than exploratory surgery.
At Raleigh Radiology, our commitment is to provide high-quality care at affordable outpatient prices resulting in lower out-of-pocket expenses for you. It has always been our philosophy that keeping care within reach is just good medicine.
Read more about our specific nuclear medicine services below.
Thyroid Uptake and Scan
The thyroid is the gland in the neck that influences all metabolic processes in the body. The thyroid uptake and scan is typically a two-part procedure that analyzes the structure and function of the thyroid. The thyroid uptake involves swallowing a dose of radioactive tracer to detect how much of the material your thyroid is absorbing. This is normally followed by a thyroid scan, in which the tracer is injected into a vein and images are taken with a gamma camera. This procedure is a non-invasive and a more precise way to determine function of the thyroid gland.
The parathyroid glands are four small glands located in the neck that control the body’s calcium levels. A nuclear parathyroid scan is an exam that studies the structure and function of the parathyroid glands. This procedure may be performed if you have an elevated blood calcium level or an overactive parathyroid. In this exam, small amounts of radioactive material are used in combination with a gamma camera to view functions and patterns of the parathyroid glands.
HIDA Scan Only
A hepatobiliary (HIDA) scan is an exam that helps evaluate the liver, gallbladder, and other parts of the biliary system. It is used to diagnose symptoms such as abdominal pain and post gallbladder surgery symptoms, as well as to diagnose disorders affecting the liver cells, bile ducts, and gallbladder. This procedure is performed by consuming a small amount of radioactive tracer either intravenously, inhalation, or swallowing. A gamma camera is then used to assess the function of the liver, gallbladder, and bile ducts.
HIDA Scan with CCK
Your radiologist may perform a HIDA scan with CCK (cholecystokinin), a hormone that causes the gallbladder to empty so that more images can be taken.
A gastric emptying scan is a procedure that uses a small amount of radioactive material to determine how quickly food leaves the stomach. This procedure is used to diagnose gastroparesis, a condition in which the muscles in the stomach don’t function properly. The study involves a gamma camera following food through the digestive system and examining the process for any abnormalities.
A MUGA (multigated acquisition) scan is a procedure that uses a radioactive tracer to test how well your heart is pumping blood to the rest of your body. This exam involves a small amount of tracer injected into your blood, followed by a gamma ray camera taking pictures of your heart. This test is used for symptoms such as chest pain, dizziness, and trouble breathing.
A cystogram is a procedure that measures the function of the bladder and urethra by inserting a catheter and contrast material through the urethra into the bladder. This test is used to determine causes of incontinence, recurring urinary tract infections, and other bladder problems.
Bone Scan - Limited Bone Scan
A bone scan is a test that uses nuclear medicine to diagnose several types of bone disease. This test is used for conditions including bone loss or injuries that are undetectable on a normal x-ray. This exam consists of a radioactive tracer to be injected intravenously and images taken of the anatomy and structure of the bones.
Bone Scan -Whole Body
A whole-body bone scan is used to diagnose bone disease, track bone loss, or diagnose bone infection. A whole-body bone scan also allows for the identification and observation of tumors that have potentially spread to the bones. A whole-body bone scan is performed in the same manner as a limited bone scan in which a radioactive tracer is injected into the veins and used to capture images of the bone structure and function.
A renogram is a nuclear medicine procedure that uses a radioactive substance that is injected into the bloodstream and displays the functions and filtering abilities of the kidney. A renogram (sometimes called a renal scan) is also able to detect blood flow to the kidneys, potential blockages of urine flow, and narrowing of renal arteries. Sometimes this procedure will use Lasix (a diuretic) to move urine through the kidneys.