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Everything You Should Know About: Radionuclide Scanning


It is an imaging technique in which a minute amount of radioactive material such as iodine or phosphate is injected into the body to visualize parts of the body or find substances. It is also called radioisotope scanning. [1]

When is Radionuclide Scanning Recommended?

These scans are recommended by doctors in case the patient is affected by:
1. Gastrointestinal bleeding: finding the source of bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract when other scans such as endoscopy fail.
2. Inflammatory bowel disease: to measure the extent of inflammation in Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
3. Hepatobiliary disease: to test whether the bile ducts are obstructed.
Preparing for radionuclide scan.
1. A detailed history of the patient’s health and medications is taken with a description and names of all the drugs the patient is taking. This is necessary to prevent interference of some substance with certain isotopes.
2. An informed consent form is signed by the patient who has been explained the procedure and necessity of the scan.
3. It may be required by the patient to fast overnight depending on the kind of chemical or isotope used, for example in gastric emptying and hepatobiliary scans.
4. Removal of all jewelry is necessary before the scan as metal could block radiation rays.

Understanding radionuclide scans results.

1. These scans may be unable to detect minute tumors or tell whether it is cancer.
2. They show some internal organ and tissue problems better than other imaging tests, but do not provide extremely detailed images."

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