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Liver Flow/SPECT

Time Required:
Liver Flow: 2 hours
with SPECT: additional 40 minutes

What is a liver flow/SPECT?
A small amount of radioactive tracer (mixed with your blood) is used to help detect hemangiomas within the liver. SPECT is used when the abnormality lies deep within the liver and is difficult to visualize on regular two-dimensional images or simply when the physician wants a "better look".

Why do I need a liver flow/SPECT study?
This study is used to differentiate between different types of benign and/or malignant lesions.

How do I prepare for my liver flow/SPECT study?
No preparation is needed for this study.

What can I expect during the test?
A technologist will start an I.V. in your arm to have access to a vein. Then, the technologist will draw a small amount of blood from the I.V. The blood is needed so it may adhere to the radioactive tracer, which is what allows us to take images. The blood mixture takes about 25 minutes to prepare. During that time you will be able to sit in the waiting area. When the blood is ready to be reinjected, the technologist will have you lie on a table on your back. As soon as blood is injected back into your arm, images are immediately taken. It is very important that you lie still while the images are being acquired. After the initial flow images, the technologist will take images every 5 to 15 minutes for up to an hour. The images are shown to the radiologist, who will determine if SPECT images are needed. If the SPECT portion is needed, additional pictures will be taken. This will take an additional 40 minutes or so.

What do I do after my liver flow/SPECT?
No special instructions are given after this study. The images will be interpreted and results will be sent to your physician. He/she will discuss the results with you.

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