Liver & Spleen Scans

About Spleen Scans ..

Labelled heat denatured red blood cells are avidly sequestered by the spleen, allowing for selective splenic imaging. Splenic tissue is easily identified as an area of high RBC activity or sequestration. Correlation of anatomical (CT or US) and functional spleen-specific images will often be necessary in many cases to determine the nature of left upper quadrant mass. Though accessory spleens may have been seeded anywhere in the abdomen, most of them are located in the left upper quadrant.    




  • Identification of accessory splenic tissue following splenectomy.

  • Confirmation of questionable abnormalities of the spleen eg. trauma.


  • On arrival, a blood sample is taken, the 99mTc-heat damaged RBC are injected IV about 45 minutes later. 

  • Imaging of the abdomen and pelvis takes place after about 30 minutes. SPECT/CT is used to precisely localize splenic tissue.



About Liver Red-Blood-Cell Scans..

Liver haemangiomas are probably the most common benign tumour of the liver. Because of their prevalence, they are often discovered during CT or ultrasound examination of the abdomen. Accurate diagnosis is essential because inadvertent biopsy of an haemangioma can lead to significant haemorrhage.

Detection of haemangiomas using the 99mTc-RBC technique is virtually 100% accurate for lesions greater than 2cm, however very small lesions (1cm) may not be detected. The haemangioma appears as an area of marked RBC pooling within the liver.



  • To confirm a suspected haemangioma seen on CT scan.


  • It is preferable the scan is not done within 4 days of a barium meal or CT contrast of the abdomen.


  • The patient's red blood cells are labelled with a radiotracer.

  • Images of the liver are acquired 2 ½ - 3 hours after injection. SPECT/CT is valuable in providing anatomical localisation. ​

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Page last reviewed: 23 March 2015