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Medical Imaging

Nuclear Medicine > Exams & Procedures > Octreotide Scan

This test is used to detect and determine the possible spread of neuroendocrine tumors (carcinoids, meningiomas, metastatic spread).

This test involves pretreatment with a mild laxative (lactulose) to facilitate tracer clearance from the bowels and enhance the picture quality of the abdomen. You will be given two small bottles of laxative. One is to be taken immediately before the injection of the tracer. You will then be given an injection of a radioactive tracer into your vein. The evening of the injection, before bedtime, you will drink the second bottle of laxative. Pictures of the tracer distribution will be taken 24, 48, and 72 hours after the injection.


  • You should drink 500 milliliters or two cups of fluid one hour before the test.
  • 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 - two 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.
  • You will be given a 30 milliliter bottle of lactulose (laxative) to drink.
  • You will be given an injection of a radioactive tracer into a vein.
  • The night of the injection you will drink another 30 milliliter bottle of lactulose (laxative) to drink.
  • 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 place the camera above you.
  • A picture will be taken from head to toe for 50 to 60 minutes.
  • If additional pictures are required, the cameras will then rotate around your body slowly taking a three-dimensional picture (tomogram), which takes another 45 minutes.