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Meckel’s scan

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What is a Meckel’s scan?

Meckel’s Diverticulum is a small abnormality in the small intestine that is present at birth. This abnormality sometimes contains gastric mucosa from the stomach, which can cause local ulcers and bleeding. A Meckel’s scan is a diagnostic imaging procedure that detects the abnormally-located gastric mucosa.

    Can I have a Meckel’s scan if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    If there is a possibility that you are pregnant or if you are currently breastfeeding please inform the department before your appointment as we will likely have to re-schedule.

      Can I bring someone with me?

      Whenever possible, you should attend your appointment alone, unless you need a carer to support any additional needs.

        How long will my appointment take?

        Please allow two hours for your appointment.

          What happens before my appointment?

          You will be required to take a drug called Omeprazole before the examination. You will be informed about how much and when to take this as a preparation for the examination. This is an over-thecounter medication from a pharmacy. If a prescription is needed (especially in the case of children) it can be collected from our department at least a few days before your appointment and taken to the hospital pharmacy to be dispensed. Alternatively we can contact your GP to make arrangements with your local pharmacy. Omeprazole reduces the amount of acid produced by the stomach and increases the sensitivity of the scan.

          Do not eat for four hours before your appointment. Two hours for very young children.

            What will happen at my appointment?

            Firstly a cannula will be placed into a vein in your arm or back of the hand.

            After this you will be taken into the scanning room and positioned on an imaging bed with a camera placed above your abdomen. Once in position you will have a small amount of radioactive tracer injected through the cannula.This injection should not have any effect on you, but will allow us to take images using a gamma camera. The radioactive tracer will emit gamma rays which will be detected by a piece of equipment called a gamma camera.

            Immediately after injection, the first set of imaging begins which takes one hour. It is important that you remain as still as possible for your scan.

            After the first set of images you will be asked to go to the toilet and empty your bladder. Then we will carry on taking images for a further fifteen minutes.

            All images will be checked before you leave the department. Occasionally images may be repeated or extra images acquired if necessary.


              What happens after my appointment?

              After the appointment you can resume all usual activities. Eat as normal and keep well hydrated.

              If you have young children or pregnant friends/family please limit close contact with them for the rest of the day. You can be in the same room but avoid sitting close to each other for long periods. This is to avoid them receiving any unnecessary radiation exposure.

                When will I get my results?

                The report will be sent to your referring doctor. They will contact you to discuss the results. If you have any enquiries regarding your results please contact the department where the referral was originally made.

                  Are there any risks with this procedure?

                  The radioactive tracer administered will expose you to a small amount of ionising radiation.

                  The risks from this radiation are very low and the benefits of having the results from the Meckel’s scan greatly outweigh the risk.

                    Contact details

                    Royal Sussex County Hospital (RSCH) Nuclear Medicine Department Hanbury Building, Royal Sussex County Hospital Eastern Road, Brighton BN2 5BE Telephone: 01273 696955 Extension: 64381 or 64382.

                    Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) Imaging Department Nuclear Medicine Department Lewes Road Haywards Heath West Sussex RH16 4EX.

                      This information is intended for patients receiving care in Brighton & Hove or Haywards Heath.

                      The information in this leaflet is for guidance purposes only and is in no way intended to replace professional clinical advice by a qualified practitioner.

                        Publication Date: June 2022

                        Review Date: March 2025

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