White Blood Cell Study

You have been scheduled for a white blood cell study, which involves the use of a small amount of radioactive material. The level of radioactivity used is extremely low and has no side effects. White blood cells fight off infection in the body. We take your white blood cells and add some radioactivity to them so our camera can see them and inject them back into your body to see where they go.

Preparation for the procedure:
There are no pre-exam instructions. Please inform the technologist if you are pregnant or breast feeding. The imaging may be changed, or special instructions given based upon that information.

What to expect:
We begin by drawing blood from you. Approximately one and a half hours later you return and we will inject your radiolabelled blood back into you. Some people need to return thirty minutes later for an image of the abdomen. This takes approximately fifteen minutes. The complete set of images is performed two to four hours later once the white blood cells have been circulating throughout the body.

1. Limited WBC scan: Once in the scan room you will lie down on a table and a special detector called a gamma camera will be placed near the area of your body that the doctor is interested in. The scan takes approximately one hour.

2. Whole body WBC scan: Once in the scan room you will lie down on a table and a special detector called a gamma camera will take images of your body. The scan takes one hour.

3. WBC SPECT: This scan generally follows a limited or whole body WBC scan and takes about forty five minutes. It gives the doctor more specific information about where the white blood cells are in your body. Once in the scan room you will be lying down on a table and a camera with two or three detectors which will rotate around you and make three dimensional images of your radiolabelled white blood cells. Claustrophobia is not usually a problem. This gives the doctor information similar to a CT or MRI.

The images will be reviewed and the results will be sent to your physician. Your physician will discuss these results with you and explain what they mean in relation to your health.

Your questions and comments:
call (805) 563-5870.

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