Gastrointestinal tract Imaging

nuclear medicine hida scan
Hepatobiliary (Gallbladder) or HIDA Scan

A HIDA scan is a nuclear medicine scan that assesses the function of the gall bladder. It is most commonly ordered for right upper quadrant abdominal pain. To prepare for a HIDA scan, you are required to fast four to six hours before the procedure. It is best to stay without food after midnight, the night before your scheduled exam. When you arrive, the technologist will explain your procedure and answer any questions you may have. You will receive an injection of a radioactive tracer in your vein. You will be asked to lie on your back on an imaging table and to remain still. Using a nuclear medicine gamma camera, images will be acquired over your abdomen. The nuclear medicine camera does not produce any radiation. It detects and records the distribution of the radioactive material in your body.


A Hida scan typically takes approximately 2 to 2.5 hours. Your images will be reviewed by a radiologist and the results sent to your physician. Your physician will discuss these results with you.














Gastric Emptying Scan

Gastric emptying scan is the most commonly used test to diagnose gastro-paresis. There are several variations of the test depending on the imaging center’s procedure guidelines. For this test, you are required not to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before and to avoid certain medications such as Reglan and muscle-relaxing pain medications. These medications can affect the accuracy of the test results. Consult with your physician before discontinuing any medications.


Before the test, you will be given a meal with a tiny amount of a radioactive tracer in it. The most common foods used are eggs/toast, or oatmeal. A small amount of water or juice may also accompany the meal. You will be given a certain time frame to eat the food in order to ensure the most accurate results. The test typically lasts 1.5 to 4 hours depending on the imaging center's protocol. Images of the stomach are taken immediately after eating, then at certain intervals.  

Your images will be reviewed by a radiologist and the results sent to your physician. Your physician will discuss these results with you.


Liver and Spleen Scan

A liver/spleen or Liver scan is a nuclear scan that is done to look at these organs for disease. Some of the reasons for liver or spleen scans are listed below.

1.       Check for diseases of the spleen or liver.  

2.       Liver Cirrhosis

3.       See if cancer has spread or metastasized to the liver or spleen.

4.       Show the condition of the liver and spleen after an abdominal injury.


The technologist will explain the exam when you arrive. A radioactive tracer that has specific affinity for the liver and spleen is injected into a vein in the arm. The perfusion pattern through the liver and spleen can help find cysts, abscesses, certain types of tumors, or problems with liver function. Your images will be reviewed by a radiologist. Your physician will discuss these results with you.



Liver SPECT Scan (for hemangioma)

Liver SPECT scan is very useful for diagnosing hepatic hemangiomas, with a specificity of up to 100%, more than MRI. Liver SPECT with Technitium-labeled red blood cells is considered to be the standard to establish a diagnosis of hepatic hemangiomas. Sensitivity is lower for very small lesions below 2 cm. 


When you arrive, the technologist will explain the procedure to you. Once in the exam room, you will be asked to lie on your back on the imaging table. The technologist will draw some blood from your vein and tag it with a radiotracer. The tagged blood is then re-injected through your vein. SPECT Images of the liver will be acquired. Your images will be reviewed by a radiologist and a report sent to your physician. Your physician will discuss these results with you.












Meckel's Diverticulum scan


Meckel’s diverticulum (MD) is said to be the most common congenital abnormality of the gastrointestinal tract and is difficult to diagnose. It is sometimes not diagnosed until young adulthood. Patient may present with symptoms such as GI tract hemorrhage, intestinal obstruction, or diverticulitis. GI tract hemorrhage is the most common complication in pediatric patients. Clinical indications for MD scan include acute massive hemorrhage or anemia as a result of chronic bleeding.  

The diagnosis of bleeding MD is challenging. Technetium-99m pertechnetate scan, known as Meckel’s scan is the standard non-invasive method for diagnosis of MD in children and young adults with lower GI hemorrhage.  


nuclear medicine gastric emptying scan
nuclear medicine meckel's scan

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