I-123 MIBG Scan

  • What is an I-123 MIBG scan?

    I-123 MIBG Scan ImageAn I-123 MIBG Scan is a test that identifies and localizes certain types of cancer.

    We do the test by giving your child an intravenous radiopharmaceutical. This "tracer" is medicine combined with a small amount of radioactive material. It travels to the area of your child we need to see and is detected and imaged by a gamma camera.

    The imaging portion of the exam takes place on the day following the injection.

    Radiopharmaceuticals are carefully tested. The risk of side effects is extremely small. Most radiopharmaceuticals used in nuclear medicine studies give less radiation exposure than a day at the beach.

  • What should you do prior to your child's exam?
    • Your child should not receive radiographic contrast agents 24 hours prior to the scan.
    • All children must have SSKI drops for this procedure. The drops protect your child's thyroid from the radioactive portion of the medicine we inject during the study. They are given once a day (three drops on the tongue) for five days, starting the day before the injection. The doctor who ordered the study for your child, will give you a prescription and instructions for the SSKI drops, which you can have filled at any pharmacy.
    • Dress your child comfortably, in clothes that are easily removed. Your child may be given a gown to change into for the procedure.
    • We have a large variety of video entertainment to choose from. Your child may also bring a favorite movie to watch during the exam.
    • You may want to bring a snack or drink for your child to have after the exam.

    Note: Parents will be allowed to accompany their child into the exam room. It may be helpful to make other arrangements for siblings.

  • What should you expect during the exam?
    • A technologist or nurse will place an IV in your child’s arm, hand or foot. Your child may feel a small pinch.
    • The technologist will ask why the MIBG Scan is being done and will explain the study to you and your child.
    • The technologist will inject the tracer through the IV line.
    • The IV will be removed and the technologist will tell you when to return the next day for the imaging portion of the test.
    • The scan takes about one hour. During the the imaging portion of the test, your child will lie still on a table. The camera will be above the table and will come close to, but will not touch your child.
    • SPECT imaging may be necessary during this procedure.
    • Young children and those unable to hold still may be sedated.

    If you’d like, our child life specialists will help you prepare and support your child during the procedure. We can also arrange to have a child life specialist at your child's appointment to explain the procedure in developmentally appropriate ways and to help your child better cope with the stress of the hospital experience.

  • What should you do after the exam?

    Continue to give your child the SSKI drops as prescribed.

  • Test results

    The images from your child's exam are interpreted on the same day and a report is sent to your physician's office.

    Your physician may call 215-590-2584 with questions about the exam.