Scintigraphy is a nuclear medical examination providing information on the metabolism of an organ. Depending on the problem, different low dose radiolabeled substances are injected into a vein in the arm. Thereafter, the concentration of the substance is measured in the organs to be examined with a particular camera and then imaged with a data processing system. This is how the organ function can be examined for the assessment of possible pathological metabolic processes.
What is Scintigraphy?
Scintigraphy is an imaging method, in which following the administration of a radioactive drug, the process of the metabolism, e.g., the function of the examined organs, are presented in an image.
The radioactive drug is usually injected into a vein in the arm to (iv). As various metabolic processes proceed at very different speed, the time between the administration of the radiopharmaceutical and the actual examination may vary from a few minutes to several hours. During the recording of scintigrams the patient lies quietly on an examination couch or is sitting in front of the recording device, the gamma camera. Often the investigation consists of several partial studies, e.g. in the multi-phase bone scintigraphy (perfusion, early and delayed images) or at the cardiac scintigraphie (rest and stress images).
What is a Gamma Camera?
The distribution of the radiopharmaceutical in the body, is made visible with a special examination device, the gamma camera also called scintillation camera. This device captures the by the body emitted radiation (after the patient has been administered radiopharmaceutical radiation) and then converts these recordings into a diagnostic 2-dimentinal image, a bone scan. During recording, the patient usually lies on the examination bed, whereby the measuring head of the gamma camera is positioned above or below him or her. In some recordings, in particular in case of a thyroid scintigraphy, the patient will be sitting in front of the gamma camera.
Since the rays are emitted from the patients and equipment itself does not deliver any radiation, additional recordings do not lead to higher radiation exposure.
Patients with agoraphobia do not have to fear having to be in a "tube", and normally, no clothing has to be removed. The patient should be able to sit or lie still for 5-25 minutes, depending the type of examination.
For standard imaging, the measuring head of the gamma camera does not move, once it has been placed in position for the imaging. In a whole body skeletal scintigraphy, the measuring heads of the gamma camera moves along the longitudinal body axis of the patient lying down for the presentation of the entire skeletal system. In the SPECT camera (single photon emission computed tomography), the measuring elements of the gamma camera heads turn around the patient. This technique allows superimposing images, and precise spatial three-dimensional representation of the distribution of activity in the body.
Our practice has 8 modern gamma camera systems, including 2-capable dual head SPECT cameras, 1 full body dual head camera, and 2 gamma cameras designed specifically for thyroid Tests.