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Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine scans can help detect diseased tissue before it can be seen on routine x-rays. Earlier diagnosis means earlier and more effective treatment.

There are many types of nuclear medicine scans and each is used for a different purpose:

  • Bone scans can detect fractures, infections, tumors, and metastasis
  • Thyroid scans reveal relative thyroid functions
  • Ventilation/perfusion scans are used to evaluate the risk of blood clots in the lungs
  • Cardiac scans show the heart as it beats, measure blood flow and heart function, and can detect a recent heart attack
  • Liver and gallbladder scans can help diagnose cirrhosis, tumors, and gallbladder disease

Nuclear medicine procedures are safe, effective, and painless. They are performed by highly trained physicians and technologists.

Recent Renovations

Duke Regional’s Nuclear Medicine Department was recently renovated and now features

  • A clean, calm atmosphere through new floors, wall colors and structural
  • New GE Discovery NM  670 and 630  cameras that offer enhanced imaging capabilities and superb image quality using lower doses of radiation when compared to standard Nuclear Medicine protocols
  • A 70-centimeter bore (  Patient circumference 220 cm ) and scanning tables that can accommodate patients up to 500 pounds
  • New equipment that is ergonomically compatible for patient comfort and allows greater positioning alternatives while still offering high quality imaging
  • Scans that can be set up faster and use automated transitions so patients can experience quicker procedure times

What happens during the procedure?

During a nuclear medicine procedure, a small amount of radioactive material, called a radiopharmaceutical, is introduced into the body. Depending on the type of test, the material may be injected, inhaled, or swallowed.

The radiopharmaceutical chosen and the means of administering it depend upon the part of the body being scanned.

All radiopharmaceuticals are manufactured under extremely strict government standards and are administered in the smallest possible dose needed to achieve good imaging results. The radioactivity is quickly eliminated from the body after the test is completed, usually through the urine.

A certain length of time (several minutes to two days) after the radiopharmaceutical is given, a gamma camera records the amount of radioactivity (gamma rays) remaining in the body. A computer usually assists the calculations and forms the actual image.

Contact Us

Nuclear Medicine services are offered from 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. To schedule an exam, call 919-470-5279.


Physicians offering this service include: