Medical Imaging

Nuclear Medicine > Exams & Procedures > Liver/Spleen Colloid Scan

This test assesses the size, shape, and position of the liver and spleen. This test may have been ordered by your doctor to investigate several different possible disease processes:

  • Detect and diagnose liver masses (cysts, abscesses, tumors, hemangiomas).
  • Diagnose widespread liver disease (jaundice, cirrhosis, fatty liver, nodular growth).
  • Evaluate the size, shape, and position of the liver and spleen (hepatomegaly, splenomegaly, accessory spleen, etc.).
  • Identify liver and/or spleen trauma.

This test involves the injection of a radioactive tracer that is picked up by the liver and spleen cells. Pictures are taken from different angles around your liver and spleen and a three-dimensional picture is acquired. If your doctor is trying to determine of a liver mass is a blood vessel mass (hemangioma). You will also have a liver/spleen red blood cell scan 48 hours after the liver/spleen colloid scan.

Preparation

  • Bring a list of all medications and supplements you take. This includes vitamins, herbal remedies, and holistic medications.
  • Do not bring children or pregnant women with you to the department. We do not want to expose them to unnecessary radiation.
  • Any of these procedures is subject to change according to the nuclear medicine physician. The duration of the tests is a rough estimate. Please be aware that the time may be lengthened if a scan has to be repeated, if emergency cases are brought to the department or due to unforeseen circumstances.

About the Procedure

  • The procedure takes about one hour.
  • A technologist will briefly explain the test to you and try to answer any questions you may have about the procedure.
  • A technologist will ask you a few questions about your medical history and medications.
  • You will be asked to lie down on the imaging bed with the camera positioned above your chest.
  • The technologist will inject a small amount of radioactive tracer into a vein.
  • Pictures are taken as the tracer is injected to determine the blood flow to the liver and spleen.
  • More pictures are taken immediately after the injection from different angles.
  • The cameras will then rotate around your body slowly taking a three-dimensional picture (tomogram), which takes about 20 minutes.