Overview of Pancreas Scan | Gastroenterology

pancreas scan

What is a pancreas scan?

A pancreas scan is an X-ray test that is used to examine the pancreas for a specific type of tumor.

The pancreas is a long, narrow organ. It is located behind the belly (abdomen), behind the abdomen. The pancreas has digestive and hormonal functions:

  • It secretes enzymes that aid digestion.
  • It secretes hormones called insulin and glucagon. These help control blood sugar levels.

A pancreatic scan is a type of nuclear radiology test. A small amount of radioactive material is used to help examine the pancreas. Radioactive material is injected intravenously. A pancreatic scan can also be used to treat pancreatic cancer tumors.

Purpose of a pancreas scan

CT scans are used for many reasons. They can be done to detect certain cancers in a number of ways, including detecting tumors, growths, or abnormal lumps. They also determine the location of tumors, the stage of cancer, and where to do the biopsy.

A CT scan of the pancreas can be used to guide doctors or surgeons through a procedure such as a biopsy. They are important for planning certain types of treatment and surgery, as well as for knowing if the patient’s body responds to treatment.

Risk factors for pancreas scan

The insertion of radioactive material into your vein is considered minimal and safe for this test. The injection causes some discomfort. Allergic reactions to radioactive material are very rare but can occur.

For some, lying on an exam table for the entire test may cause some discomfort or pain.

Tell your provider if you are allergic or sensitive to medications, contrast dyes, or latex.

Tell your provider if you are pregnant or assume you are pregnant. Also, tell your provider if you are breastfeeding.

There may be other risks depending on your particular medical condition. Be certain to discuss any issues with your provider prior to testing.

Some things make a pancreas scan less accurate. Besides these:

  • Having a radioactive element in your body for a specific period of time since the last nuclear medicine drug test
  • Recent barium tests have revealed that barium is already in the GI (gastrointestinal) tract

How to get ready for pancreas scanning?

  • Your healthcare provider will tell the system and you can ask questions.
  • If your CT scan uses a different medium, you will be required to sign a consent form enabling you to perform the procedure. Read the form carefully and ask questions if you don’t know anything clearly.
  • Please inform radiologic technology if you have ever had a reaction to any contrast medium or if you have an allergy to iodine.
  • You generally do not need to fast before a CT scan, unless you use contrast dye. Your healthcare provider will give you specific instructions in advance if you need to use contrast dye and cannot eat or drink.
  • Tell your healthcare provider about all the medications, vitamins, herbs, and supplements you are taking.
  • Inform your healthcare provider if you have kidney problems.
  • Inform the technician if you are pregnant or believe you might be.
  • Tell the technician if anyone has piercings on their chest or abdomen.
  • Depending on your situation, your healthcare provider may ask for other arrangements.

Procedure for pancreas scan

During pancreas scan

CT scans may be done on outpatient support or as part of your stay in a hospital. Procedures may vary depending on your condition and your physician’s practices.

  • You will be asked to remove clothing, jewelry, or other items that may interfere with the test.
  • If you are asked to remove your clothing, you will be given a gown to wear.
  • The IV (intravenous) line is started by hand or arm for the injection of radiopeptides.
  • Radiopeptide is injected into a vein. It is allowed to concentrate in the pancreatic tissue.
  • Since any movement affects the quality of the scan, you will be asked to lie down on the scan table.
  • A scanner is placed on your abdomen to detect the gamma rays sent by the radiopeptide to the pancreatic tissue.
  • You can re-install the position during the scan to get views of all surfaces of the pancreas.
  • When scanned, the IV (intravenous) is removed.

While the CT scan procedure may not cause any pain, staying still during the procedure may cause some discomfort or pain, especially in the case of an aggressive procedure, such as a recent injury or surgery. The technician will use all possible comfort measures and complete the procedure as soon as possible to minimize any discomfort or pain.

After a pancreas scanning

If contrast media are used in your procedure, you will be monitored over a period of time for side effects or reactions to the contrast media, such as itching, swelling, a rash, or trouble breathing.

If you notice any pain, redness, and/or swelling at the IV site after returning home from your procedure, you should inform your doctor, as this may indicate an infection or other type of reaction.

Otherwise, no special care is required after a CT scan of the pancreas. You can resume your normal diet and activities unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Your doctor may give you additional instructions after the procedure depending on your specific situation.

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