Scintigraphy: Everything you have to know

Scintigraphy is one of the medical tests that used to help diagnose some diseases, especially those that are related to body parts of the endocrinological, osseous, respiratory and renal systems. It is a test similar to others such as radiography or magnetic resonance. It differs from this because, before performing it, it is necessary for the patient to take radiopharmaceuticals that prepare them for the scintigraphy in the same test.


Scintigraphy is one of the medical tests that uses imaging techniques that have been studied the most. It was one of the first to appear, so it has had a great development in the world of medicine. Like any other test that involves the use of radioactive energy, over the years has been experimenting to minimize the possible side effects that could cause. Therefore, today it is a safe test that helps to identify problems in any of the organs that we have in our body.

Steps before scintigraphy

When a doctor asks a patient to have a scintigraphy, the reasons can be diverse since, as it is a test that can be used to find problems of different parts of the body, each one will have its purpose. In some cases, it is used to analyze the tumors that appear to check whether they are malignant or benign. It can also be used to see how some diseases or ailments evolve, as well as to obtain information that with other tests has been incomplete. The most common scintigraphies are digestive, cardiac, neurological, endocrine, renal and bone.

Before performing this test, the patient should not follow any additional instruction that is followed when doing any other type of mild medical examination. It will be necessary to notify the doctor of the medication that is being taken in case there is a problem to carry out the examination correctly. In addition, as a prerequisite is filling out a consent form with which the patient is aware of what the test entails and the possible side effects that may occur. In addition, it is likely that you will be asked to go on an empty stomach.

How scintigraphy performed

As we have just said, it is not necessary for the patient to do a prior preparation before a scintigraphy is performed. Therefore, it will be enough to present the day that is established for the test in the health center or consultation agreed. It can be done on an outpatient basis, so it will not be necessary to have revenue or to go much earlier than the place set. Once the patient arrives at the health center, they will be asked to change into a hospital gown so that it is easier to leave that area of the body that is being analyzed without covering.

When the patient is ready to take the test, the doctor will administer, intravenously, the radiopharmaceutical that helps to see the area to be analyzed more easily. Sometimes, it is possible that it is administered orally or inhaled, but it is not the most common. It takes about an hour to take effect, so the patient will have to wait until the scan can begin. After this time, you will be asked to lie on a stretcher in the most appropriate position to access the area you want to analyze. It is not something that lasts a long time. It is enough to emit the necessary radiation to see the organs that you want to examine and after this the patient will be able to return home without problems.

During the scan, the doctor can interpret the results while watching them on the screen, so it will not be necessary to wait for a subsequent consultation. On the other hand, the person who has been subjected to this test, should be careful two or three days later because it will emit radioactivity. That is why it will not be good to contact sensitive people, such as children, pregnant women or people with some kind of tumor.