Nuclear Medicine Studies
Nuclear medicine scans usually involve an injection or ingestion of a radioactive material. This material is not harmful and will typically pass through your body in 24 to 48 hours. Before your procedure, be sure to tell the technologist about any allergies you may have.
Hepatobiliary Study (HIDA Scan)
The Hepatobiliary Study demonstrates the function of the gallbladder.
Preparation: Nothing to eat or drink for four hours prior to the exam.
Exam Process: An IV will be started to deliver the radioactive material. Patients lie upon the exam table while a large camera will pass over the abdomen capturing images. If the gallbladder can be imaged, a second medication, Kinevac, will be injected into the IV and additional images will be captured. (Some patients will ingest a high-fat drink rather than receive the medication). If the gallbladder does not appear within the first hour, delay imaging will be scheduled at two and four hours after the start of the IV.
Exam Time: Between 90 minutes and four hours, dependent upon image capture.
The Bone Scan can detect bone cancer, osteomyelitis, musculoskeletal trauma, bone lesions and arthritis.
Exam Process: A radioactive medication will be injected into a vein. Images will be captured two to three hours after the injection.
Exam Time: Scan time is 30 to 40 minutes. Wait time following injection is two to three hours; patient will be encouraged to drink fluids during this time and may leave the department.
The Liver/Spleen scan shows the function of the liver and spleen and is useful in assessing chronic liver disease and the size of these organs.
Exam Process: The patient will receive an injection of a radioactive material. The nuclear camera is positioned over the abdomen and several images are captured.
Exam Time: Approximately 30 minutes
This exam is used to diagnosis pulmonary embolism (blood clot of the lungs) or to evaluate pulmonary function prior to lung reduction surgery.
Exam Process: The exam is performed in two parts. First, the patient breathes a radioactive vapor through a tube for about 15 minutes. The patient then lies on the exam table while the camera captures images of the lungs. During the second part of the exam, a small amount of radioactive material is injected into a vein and additional images are captured. Some patients receive a chest x-ray after the exam.
Exam Time: About 30 minutes.
This scan is used to detect and localize parathyroid adenomas.
Exam Process: The patient receives an injection of a radioactive material. After 20 minutes, images of the throat and neck area are captured. The patient can then leave, returning in two hours for a second set of images.
Exam Time: Total scan time is about 90 minutes; wait time is about two hours.
This scan examines the anatomy and function of the kidneys. There are three types.
Renal Scan With Lasix
Exam Process: An IV will be started through which the patient receives a radioactive medication. A large camera is positioned under the table and captures images of the kidneys. A dose of Lasix is given at 15 minutes and imaging is continued. After 35 minutes, the patient is asked to empty the bladder, and a final image is acquired.
Exam Time: About 35 minutes.
Exam Process: The patient lies on a table with the camera underneath. The technologist provides an injection of radioactive material. The camera captures images for about 35 minutes.
Exam Time: 35 minutes
Renal Scan with Captopril
Preparation: Patients who take ACE inhibitors and/or diuretics will be instructed to discontinue these medications for two to three days prior to the study.
Exam Process: The patient ingests a medication called Captopril. The technologist will monitor the patient’s blood pressure for 60 minutes. After an hour, the patient lies upon the exam table and the technologist injects a radioactive material. Images of the kidneys will be captured.
Exam Time: Scan is about 30 minutes; preparation time is about 60 minutes.
Thyroid Scan and Uptake
This scan measures the size and function of the thyroid gland. It can also be used to evaluate thyroid nodules.
Preparation: Patients must discontinue all thyroid medications for a period of up to four weeks, depending upon the medication being taken. The physician will provide specific instructions regarding this. Additionally, patients may not have had any exams that used iodinated contrast for six weeks prior to this exam. Examples of tests that use iodinated contrast include IVP, CT with contrast or heart catheterization. Patients are provided a special, low-sodium diet to follow prior to the exam.
Exam Process: The exam occurs over two days. On the first day, the patient ingests a special medication and is released to normal daily activities. On the second day, the patient returns to the nuclear medicine department for scanning. The patient lies upon the table with a large camera focused on the neck area. The camera obtains three images.
Exam Time: About 30 minutes, plus 24-hour wait.
This study is to evaluate stomach function and delays in gastric emptying.
Preparation: Patients will not be able to eat or drink anything for four to six hours before the exam. Medications that delay gastric emptying, such as opiates or antispasmodic agents, should be discontinued at least two hours prior to exam.
Exam Process: The patient will consume a meal of oats with a radioactive tracer and drink a glass of water in a 10-minute period. The patient is placed on the scanner table with the nuclear camera positioned over the abdomen.
Exam Time: About 90 minutes, plus time to consume meal.
Whole Body PET/CT Scan
Limited PET/CT Scan
PET studies evaluate the metabolism of a particular organ or tissue to detect biochemical changes that can identify the onset of a disease process.
Preparation: Patients must have nothing to eat or drink for at least four hours prior to the exam. Diabetes may take insulin along with a special diet, as directed by the physician. Blood sugar levels must be under 200.
Exam Process: A blood glucose reading is obtained and an IV started. The technologist will inject a radioactive medication and then remove the IV. The patient will wait 45 minutes while the medication circulates to the organ/tissue to be studied. After 45 minutes, the patient is placed on the exam table. The patient will pass through the openings of the PET scanner during the exam.
Exam Time: About 30 minutes, plus 45 minutes wait time.