White Blood Cells Scan

Medically reviewed by Health Library. Date Last Reviewed: 19/05/2023

White Blood Cells Scan

What is a labeled WBC scan?

A labeled WBC scan is used for detection of abscesses and infection in soft tissues, skeleton, or fever of unknown origin.

How should I prepare for a labeled WBC scan?

There is no prep for this test.

How long does the test take?

There are typically 3 visits to the Nuclear Medicine Department to complete this test. On your first visit the technologist will place an intra-venous catheter in your arm and withdrawal of 40-50 mL of blood. The pharmacist will remove just your white blood cells and tag them with a radioactive isotope. This process takes approximately two hours.

During this time you can leave the department and you will be given a time to return. When you return the technologist will inject your labeled white blood cells through the intra-venous catheter already placed in your arm, and then the IV will be removed. You will then be given a time to return the following day. On this day you will be asked to remove all external metal from your body and lie onto our imaging table. The technologist will either scan you from head to toe or take spot views of the area of interest. This will take 20-30 minutes. The technologist may then take another set of images called a SPECT/CT. This is a tomographic set of images combines with a nondiagnostic CT used for attenuation correction and takes about 25 minutes.

How soon will the results be available?

A radiologist will interpret the images, write a report, and deliver the results to your doctor via the internal computer system.

It is essential to tell your doctor if you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant before undergoing this scan because of radiation exposure.

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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