Liver and Spleen Scan
A liver and spleen scan is a nuclear scan that is done to look at these organs for disease.
During a liver and spleen scan, a radioactive tracer substance is put into a vein (IV) in the arm. It moves through the blood to the liver and spleen . Areas of the liver and spleen where the tracer collects in large amounts show up as bright spots in the pictures. Areas where the tracer collects in low amounts or does not show up are seen as dark spots. The pattern in which the tracer spreads through the liver and spleen can help find cysts, abscesses, certain types of tumors, or problems with liver function.
Scans of the liver and the spleen are done at the same time.
Why It Is Done
A liver and spleen scan is done to:
- Check for diseases of the spleen or liver . If liver disease has been diagnosed, a liver scan can help show how well the liver is working.
- Look for cancer in the liver.
- See if cancer has spread (metastasized) to the liver or spleen.
- Show the condition of the liver and spleen after a belly injury.
How To Prepare
Before your liver and spleen scan, tell your doctor if you:
- Are or might be pregnant.
- You are breast-feeding. The radioactive tracer used in this test can get into your breast milk. Do not breast-feed your baby for 2 days after this test. During this time, you can give your baby breast milk you stored before the test, or you can give formula. Discard the breast milk you pump for 2 days after the test.
- Have had an X-ray test using barium contrast material (such as a barium enema) or have taken a medicine (such as Pepto-Bismol) that has bismuth in the last 4 days. Barium and bismuth can block a clear picture.
You will empty your bladder right before the scan.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).