Medical Imaging

Nuclear Medicine > Exams & Procedures > MIBG Scan

This test detects and determines the possible spread of neuroendocrine tumors (pheochromocytoma, carcinoids, paragangliomas, neuroblastomas, and medullary thyroid cancer). This test can also be used to assess nerve supply changes in the heart (cardiac sympathetic denervation).

This test involves pretreatment with a thyroid blocking agent to prevent the MIBG from going to your thyroid gland. You will be given an injection of a radioactive tracer (MIBG). Pictures of the tracer distribution will be taken 24, 48, and 72 hours after the injection.

Preparation

  • Many drugs interfere with this scan. Please consult your doctor four to six weeks before this test to determine which medications to stop.
  • You will be given super-saturated potassium iodide (SSKI) or Lugol's solution to block the tracer from entering the thyroid gland; One drop on the tongue three times daily starting one day before tracer injection and continuing for one week.
  • The injection will be given on Tuesday and pictures will be taken for about one hour every day for three days.
  • 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

Initial visit - 15 minutes.
Pictures - one to one and a half hours per day 24, 48, and 72 hours after tracer injection.

  • 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.
  • The technologist will set up a butterfly intravenous needle in your vein.
  • You will be given an injection of a radioactive tracer through the intravenous. The injection is given slowly, over about 30 seconds.
  • You will come back for pictures 24, 48 and possibly 72 hours after the tracer injection.
  • The technologist will ask you to lie on a bed, and will then place the camera above you.
  • A picture will be taken from head to toe as one long 50 to 60 minute picture.
  • Additional pictures may be required from different angles, each lasting up to 20 minutes.