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Did You Know?

Wake Radiology Rises Above

100-percent-board-certified ✔  100% of Wake Radiology radiologists maintain all required certifications through the American Board of Radiology.*

✔  All images are read and interpreted by a board certified, subspecialty trained radiologist.

*Most local and regional radiology options have 20% compliance with these standards. Public Policy Polling, 2012.

Badges of Honor

Wake Radiology is proud to have received the highest accreditations possible from the American College of Radiology (ACR).

Learn more about our accreditations!

The Nuclear Medicine Examination

Nuclear medicine is a method of imaging the body using radioactive materials. Highly skilled professionals use special equipment and procedures to learn how certain organs function and to diagnose and determine the extent of diseases. The radioactive material is introduced into the body by injection, inhalation, or by swallowing. After the radiation has had time to travel to the body part of interest, the imaging or scan begins.

What You Can Expect from Your Nuclear Medicine Examination

The nuclear medicine technologist uses a special camera to detect the radiation emitted from your body. A computer is used to help process the information and to make the images easier to interpret.

The body part being scanned will be positioned close to the camera. You will be asked to hold very still while the images are being made. There will be times during the scan when the technologist will allow you to move and relax. It is necessary to make several images in different positions to get a complete and accurate study.

Upon completion of our routine views, the technologist will show your films to the radiologist, who is a doctor with special training in nuclear medicine. At this time, the radiologist will review your study and may ask for extra views or even X-rays to provide as much information as possible.

Be sure to tell us if you are pregnant.

The time that it takes to perform a nuclear medicine study varies. Some procedures are more involved than others and naturally take longer to complete.

Types of Scans and Study Details

  • Bone Scan

    Preparation: Patients should hydrate well the day before the procedure.
    Length of Study: Total body scan: About 3.5 – 4 hours, Limited scan: About 2.5 – 3 hours
    Description: Radioactive material is injected intravenously. There is a 2-3 hour wait after the injections. You do not need to remain in our office during this wait. You will need to drink at least 32 oz. of fluids within these two hours to aid in absorption of the injected radioactive material. The actual scan time varies depending upon the area or areas of interest. A total body bone scan will take approximately one hour to image the entire body. Limited areas such as knees, shoulders, etc., take approximately 30 minutes to scan.

  • Thyroid Scan

    Preparation: Patients should stop thyroid medication for at least three weeks prior to scan. Anti-thyroid medication should be discontinued for 3-7 days. Patients should also not have had any X-ray examinations using contrast materials containing iodine for one month prior to scan.
    Length of Study: Approximately 1 hour
    Description: Radioactive material is injected intravenously. Twenty minutes after the injection, five views of the thyroid will be taken. Thyroid Scan with uptake: Radioactive material will be taken by mouth on day one of this procedure.  This is a two day procedure.

  • Kidney Scan (Renal Scan)

    Preparation: Patients should hydrate well the day before the procedure.
    Length of Study: Approximately 1 – 1.5 hours
    Description: Radioactive material is injected intravenously, and images are made during the injection. There are two different methods used to scan the kidneys. One method shows the anatomy (size, shape) of the kidneys, and the other method is for kidney function. With both studies, a radioactive material is injected, and immediate images are made. If only kidney anatomy is requested, there will be a one hour delayed scan made after the initial injection films. When a kidney function scan is requested by your doctor, you will be scanned continuously for 40 minutes. If a study is ordered with a diuretic, an additional 30 minute scan will be acquired.

  • Hepatobiliary Scan (Liver, GallBladder, Common Bile Duct & Small Bowel)

    Preparation: No food or liquids for 8 hours before scan. Abdomen should not have barium from X-ray studies.
    Length of Study: At least 2 hours, but it could take 6.5 hours if delayed films are made.
    Description: Radioactive material is injected intravenously. After the injection, images are made every 5 minutes for at least an hour. These films are then shown to the radiologist, who will determine if delayed views are necessary. With CCK:  Additional images are acquired for one hour, with a slow infusion of CCK being administered while the images are acquiring. Patients are encouraged to bring a DVD to enjoy during this procedure.

  • Gastric Emptying

    Preparation: Patients should not have food or liquids after midnight. Some medications will need to be discontinued. This will be discussed during scheduling. If you are diabetic, please bring the glucometer you use at home to check your blood sugar and any medications you take in the morning, as well as a list of all medications.
    Length of Study: 4 hours Radioactive material will be ingested.
    Description: You will be required to eat a standardized meal, which will consist of egg beaters, 2 slices of white bread, strawberry jam, and a 120 cc of water in a ten minute time period.  Two one-minute images will be taken with you standing in front of the camera immediately upon finishing the meal and every hour after for the next four hours. We ask that you remain in the office during this procedure. Our waiting areas have TVs and WiFi is available while you’re waiting for your next set of images.

  • Parathyroid

    Preparation: None
    Length of Study: 3 hours Radioactive material is injected intravenously.  Ten minutes after the injection, 5 initial images are taken.  There will be a delay of 40-50 minutes before the next series of images are acquired. During this time, patients may relax in the waiting area.

SPECT Imaging

All Wake Radiology Diagnostic Imaging’s Nuclear Medicine departments are fully SPECT (Single Proton Emission Computed Tomography) capable. Using SPECT, we are able to provide 3-D computer reconstructed images of multiple views and function of the organ being imaged, providing a much higher degree of resolution and accuracy than with traditional planar imaging.

Your Insurance Information

Please bring all insurance information to each visit. Most major insurers will pay for radiology examinations, although some require prior authorization for certain procedures. Patients may be required to pay at the time of service depending on the type of insurance coverage. You should check your benefits with your insurers at least a day before the exam. Your insurance policy is a contract between you and your insurance company. As a courtesy to you, we will be glad to file your insurance claims. Bring your insurance card with you when you come for the exam. You will be responsible for all services that are not covered by your insurance. We participate with most health care plans. If you have any questions about your coverage, you may call our business office at (919) 787-8221 or toll free at 1-800-675-2232.

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