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Liver and Spleen Scan

Results

A liver and spleen scan is a nuclear scan that is done to look at these organs for disease. The results of a liver and spleen scan are ready in 2 days.

Liver and spleen scan

Normal:

Normal amounts of the radioactive tracer are found in the liver and spleen. No areas of large or small amounts of tracer are seen.

The liver and spleen are normal in size, shape, and location.

Abnormal:

The tracer pattern in the liver may show diseases.

The tracer pattern shows a cyst, an abscess, a collection of blood (hematoma), a lump made up of blood vessels (hemangioma), or a tumor.

The tracer pattern in the spleen may not be in the right place or may show spleen tissue that was missed during surgery to remove the spleen (splenectomy).

The liver or spleen may be enlarged because of a disease or may have an abnormal shape because a tumor is pressing against the organ.

Certain types of tumors may cause large amounts of tracer to collect in the liver or spleen.

Certain types of tumors may cause no tracer to collect in the liver or spleen.

Some conditions cause more tracer to show up in the spleen than in the liver.

What Affects the Test

Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:

  • Being pregnant. A liver and spleen scan is usually not done during pregnancy because the radiation could damage the developing baby (fetus).
  • Using barium or bismuth. If a liver and spleen scan is needed, it should be done before any tests that use barium (such as a barium enema).
  • Not being able to lie still during the test.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 17, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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