MIBG scans for children

Boy going into a scanner

This scan is usually used for children who have a diagnosis of neuroblastoma. A radioactive substance is injected into your child’s bloodstream and your child will have their scan the next day. The scan will show up any areas of cancer.  

Before the test
To stop the substance affecting your child’s thyroid gland, they must take iodine medication. You will get a prescription and instructions before the scan.

Your child may need sedation or a general anaesthetic to help them keep still during the scan. If they have a general anaesthetic they will need to fast (not eat or drink) for a time before the scan.

If your child has a Hickman line the dye may be put in through this line. If the Hickman line cannot be used, your child will have a very small tube put into their hand or foot and the radioactive dye will be injected into it. You will come back the following day for the scan.

During the test
You child will lie on a table while the scan is taken from above and below. The scan can take an hour or two. Your child will need to lie still during the scan. 

After the test
You can go home straight after the test. If your child has had a general anaesthetic they can go home once they have recovered. 

Your child should drink plenty of fluids after the scan to help flush the radioactive substance out of their system. 

Are there risks / side-effects?

  • The scan is safe, but for the first 48 hours there will be radioactivity in your child’s bodily fluids such as wee, poo and vomit. They should wash their hands well after going to the toilet. 
  • If your child is in nappies, dispose of them carefully in the outside bin. 
  • Wash your hands very carefully after changing nappies or if you come into contact with your child’s poo, wee or vomit. Avoid contact with these if you are pregnant or might be pregnant.

For more information

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1800 200 700

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