St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

    Print-Friendly
    Bookmarks

    Liver scan

    Technetium scan; Liver technetium sulfur colloid scan; Liver-spleen radionuclide scan; Nuclear scan - technetium; Nuclear scan - liver or spleen

    A liver scan uses a radioactive material to help determine how well the liver or spleen is working.

    How the Test is Performed

    The health care provider will inject a radioactive material called a radioisotope into one of your veins. After the liver has soaked up the material, you will be asked to lie on a table under the scanner.

    The scanner can tell where the radioactive material has gathered in the body. Images are displayed on a computer. You may be asked to remain still, or to change positions during the scan.

    How to Prepare for the Test

    You must sign a consent form. You will be asked to remove jewelry, dentures, and other metals because they can interfere with the scanner's functions.

    You may need to wear a hospital gown.

    How the Test Will Feel

    You will feel a sharp prick when the needle with the radioactive substance is inserted into your vein. You shouldn’t feel anything during the actual scan. If you have difficulty lying still or are very anxious, you may be given a mild sedative to help you relax.

    Why the Test is Performed

    The test can provide information about liver and spleen function. It is also used to help confirm other test results.

    Currently, the most common use for a liver scan is to diagnose a condition called benign focal nodular hyperplasia, or FNH.

    Normal Results

    The liver and spleen should appear normal in size, shape, and location. The radioisotope is absorbed evenly.

    What Abnormal Results Mean

    • Abscess
    • Budd-Chiari syndrome
    • High pressure in the liver blood vessels (portal hypertension)
    • Infection
    • Injury
    • Liver disease (such as cirrhosis or hepatitis)
    • Superior vena cava obstruction
    • Splenic infarction (tissue death)
    • Tumors

    Risks

    There is some concern with radiation from any scan. However, the level of radiation in this procedure is less than that of most x-rays and is not considered significant enough to cause harm to the average person.

    Pregnant or nursing women should consult their health care provider before any exposure to radiation, because fetuses and nursing babies are more sensitive to the effects of radiation.

    Considerations

    Other tests may be needed to confirm the findings of this test. Additional tests may include an abdominal ultrasound, abdominal CT scan, liver biopsy, or liver flow study.

    Most often, CT or MRI scans are used to evaluate the liver and spleen instead of a liver scan.

    References

    Lidofsky S. Jaundice. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 20.

    Lomas DJ. The liver. In: Adam A, Dixon A, eds. Grainger and Allison’s Diagnostic Radiology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008:chap 35.

    BACK TO TOP

    • Liver scan

      illustration

      • Liver scan

        illustration

      A Closer Look

        Self Care

          Tests for Liver scan

          Review Date: 1/31/2011

          Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Jason Levy, MD, Northside Radiology Associates, Atlanta, Georgia. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

          The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
          adam.com

          A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.


          Back  |  Top
          About Us
          Contact Us
          History
          Mission
          Locations & Directions
          Quality Reports
          Annual Reports
          Honors & Awards
          Community Health Needs
          Assessment

          Newsroom
          Services
          Brain & Spine
          Cancer
          Heart
          Maternity
          Orthopedics
          Pulmonary
          Sleep Medicine
          Urgent Care
          Women's Services
          All Services
          Patients & Visitors
          Locations & Directions
          Find a Physician
          Tour St. Luke's
          Patient & Visitor Information
          Contact Us
          Payment Options
          Financial Assistance
          Send a Card
          Mammogram Appointments
          Health Tools
          My Personal Health
          mystlukes
          Spirit of Women
          Health Information & Tools
          Clinical Trials
          Health Risk Assessments
          Employer Programs -
          Passport to Wellness

          Classes & Events
          Classes & Events
          Spirit of Women
          Donate & Volunteer
          Giving Opportunities
          Volunteer
          Physicians & Employees
          For Physicians
          Remote Access
          Medical Residency Information
          Pharmacy Residency Information
          Physician CPOE Training
          Careers
          Careers
          St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
          Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile