Breast Scintigraphy

This test is a nuclear scan of the breast to identify problems with patients that have dense breast tissue in which it is difficult to evaluate using a normal mammogram. This is also helpful with breast cancer patients in determining what will be the best treatment for the patient. Benign breast lesions such as fibrocystic disease, fibroadenoma and fat necrosis may also concentrate the radioactive agent in a focal or a diffuse pattern. So breast scanning is a sensitive though nonspecific test to detect malignant breast lesions.

Breast carcinoma is the most common cancer found among women in the Western world. Mammography (MM) is the most widely used diagnostic imaging method for screening and diagnosing breast cancer. MM has known diagnostic limits. Not all breast carcinomas are found on mammograms. This is especially true with breast that is dense. Also it is more difficult if there is a breast prosthesis or previous radiation, surgery or biopsies have been done. In addition, the mammographic images of benign and malignant lesions can be similar. Therefore, imaging studies of the breast using nuclear scans is helpful.

PREPARATION FOR TEST

No preparation is necessary.

NORMAL FINDINGS

Negative: Minimal, symmetric bilateral and uniform breast uptake equal to soft tissue uptake.

Ranges for normal findings may vary among different laboratories and hospitals. You should always check with your doctor after having lab work or other tests done to discuss the meaning of your test results and whether your values are considered within normal limits.

MEANING OF TEST

Your caregiver will go over the test results with you and discuss the importance and meaning of your results, as well as treatment options and the need for additional tests if necessary.

OBTAINING THE TEST RESULTS

It is your responsibility to obtain your test results. Ask the lab or department performing the test when and how you will get your results.