Scintigraphy in Israel
Scintigraphy of the internal organs in Israel is carried out at diagnostic radiology department of private clinics "Herzliya Medical Center." The specialists of the medical centre use the most advanced equipment to receive high-quality imaging. The use of modern radiopharmaceuticals allows to minimize risks of side effects, and thorough preliminary examination and individual preparation of patients allow to carry out the necessary diagnostic procedures, even in the presence of relative contraindications.
The principle of the scintigraphy method
The scintigraphy (isotope scanning) is a method of non-invasive radionuclide imaging. The scintigraphy based on the ability of the radioactive isotopes emit gamma rays, detected and converted by a scanning device into two-dimensional or three-dimensional (SPECT) picture of the examined organ. Scintigraphy requires special contrast agents which are composed of two main components:
- Substance-conductor (molecule-vector). The drug which is selectively absorbed by specific organs and tissues, it can create a high concentration in the investigated organ. Type of molecule vector depends on the scanned organ and tissue's features of the metabolic processes.
- Marker (radioisotope), which is chemically connected with molecule vector. Together with the conductive substance, it is absorbed by a studied organ that allows scanning.
The intensity of the radiation depends on the isotope concentration, which is caused by the characteristics of metabolism, as well as the state of perfusion (blood flow) in the organs and tissues. Thus pathological processes accompanied by an increased metabolism (malignant tumors, inflammations, bone proliferation foci) have a higher absorption of contrast agent that can be clearly defined at scintigrams. At the same time, areas affected by a lack of blood circulation (ischemic processes, cyst) differ low emitted radiation.
Within a short time after the procedures, a contrast agent is completely neutralised by the body and derived from it. Short exposure to low doses of gamma-irradiation has no significant side effects. The study is painless except one intravenous injection of radiopharmaceuticals (similar to intravenous injection or any blood samples analysis). Depending on the targeted organ and the method type, all examination takes from several hours to two days (contrast agent is injected into the first stage, scanning is performed in the second phase).
Bone scintigraphy (bone scan) is a highly sensitive method and can detect structural changes of bone invisible to the conventional X-ray image. The study is used to diagnose primary and metastatic cancer of bone, osteomyelitis, fractures (including pathological fractures). Bone scintigraphy allows diagnosing a size and an intensity of the pathological process. It is a necessary method for the differential diagnosis of malignant, degenerative, metabolic and traumatic bone changes. Bone scintigraphy is usually performed in three phases and takes up to 5 hours.
Renal Scintigraphy requires agents with vector molecule which is excreted in the urine. Contrasted kidney blood vessels allow quickly to determine the thickness and the amount of parenchyma (functional renal tissue), the renal blood flow rate, the excretory function, the presence of focal pathological processes (including kidney tumours). Renal scintigraphy is usually used for differential diagnosis of high blood pressure. The study avoids renal causes of hypertension. The total duration of renal scintigraphy after administration of the isotope is less than 3 hours.
Thyroid tissue is characterised by selective absorption of iodine molecules. For thyroid scintigraphy, doctors use isotope iodine-containing agents. The study is performed in order to detect benign (goitre, cysts) and malignant (thyroid cancer) volume processes. Scintigraphy of the thyroid gland is necessary for the diagnosis of thyroid functional status in patients with low (hypothyroidism) or excess (hyperthyroidism) organ function, as well as for suspected inflammatory or autoimmune process (thyroiditis). Often, this study is carried out with the aim of radiotherapy planning in case of thyroid cancer. Thyroid scintigraphy is performed at 4 and 24 hours after injection of the isotope.
Scintigraphy of the myocardium (heart) is important in the diagnosis of coronary heart disease. After intravenous injection, the radioactive isotope spreads in coronary vessels allowing to determine the degree of stenosis and blood saturation of myocardium (cardiac muscle). Myocardial scintigraphy may be an alternative to invasive examinations of heart arteries (as a decision of the cardiologist). The technique allows inspecting of heart at rest, as well as during exercise (or after the use of drugs that mimic the heart load). Depending on the indication and applied cardiac scintigraphy techniques can be carried out within one or two days.
Lung scintigraphy is used to diagnose pulmonary embolism. The introduction of a radioactive isotope allows evaluating pulmonary perfusion, a comparison between the intensity of the ventilation capacity and circulation. The presence of pulmonary artery branches occlusion gives a characteristic pattern that allows professionals as early as possible to start effective treatment of this disease. In some cases, lung scintigraphy is used for planning of operation and/or radiation therapy for various forms of lung cancer. Lung scintigraphy scan takes a few hours.
Scintigraphy of the liver
Liver scintigraphy is used for the differential diagnosis of structural and functional disorders that accompany diseases such as liver cancer, cirrhosis, abscesses and cystic processes. The study is also indicated for the assessment of post-traumatic lesions of the abdominal cavity. Moreover, liver scintigraphy can evaluate the effectiveness of anticancer treatments used for primary or metastatic forms of cancer. Scanning can be started at 30 minutes after injection of the isotope.
The brain scintigraphy allows to diagnose disorders of brain perfusion and is used for visualisation of strokes and transient ischemic attacks. Brain scintigraphy is widely used for the differential diagnosis of patients suffering from seizures and psychiatric disorders. Scanning is performed when doctors suspect volume processes (brain tumours), as well as to assess the condition after traumatic brain injury. In most cases, brain scintigraphy is performed within a few hours after the receiving of a radioactive drug.
Radiologists of the private clinic "Herzliya Medical Center" can interpret results of scintigraphy within a short period, and give a comprehensive overview of the structure and the functional state of the examined organ for physicians.