Scintigraphy is a medical imaging study, in which a radioactive substance is brought into the body. By measuring the radioactive radiation, various types of disease processes can be examined and determined. Therefore, there are also various types of scintigraphy.
Scintigraphy is performed in order to look at certain structures in the body. Skeletal scintigraphy (bone scan) is mainly done to check for bone cancer and metastases. With thyroid scintigraphy is checked whether there are defects in the thyroid, such as for example a tumor or diseases like hyperthyroidism, goiter and Graves’ disease. With the aid of myocardial scintigraphy can be looked for the location of the affected portion of the heart after a heart attack and how serious the damage is. The blood flow through the heart can also be examined.
During a scintigraphy, a radioactive substance is administered to the patient. The radioactive substance ensures that radiation is released. This radiation can be measured. A radioactive substance has the property to accumulate at certain places in the body, for example at the location of a defect. By looking at where the radioactive substance ends up, these defects can be located.
The radioactive substance is administered via an injection, via food or via inhaling the substance. If the radioactive material takes effect, the scan can be made. During the scan, the patient lies on a table. Above, a gamma camera is hanging. This camera has a detector, which measures the amount of radiation. How long the scan will take, depends on what needs to be shown. Usually, a scan takes about 30 minutes. A scintigraphy of the heart may take longer, because the entire cycle of the heart must be imaged.