Your doctor has recommended you for lymphoscintigraphy. Lymphoscintigraphy is a special type of nuclear medicine imaging that provides special pictures of the lymphatic system, which transports fluid throughout your immune system. Lymphoscintigraphy is often used to identify the sentinel lymph node, or the first node to receive the lymph drainage from a tumor. It can also help plan for a biopsy or surgery that will help assess the stage of cancer. Lymphoscintigraphy is also helpful in identifying points of blockage in the lymphatic system, such as lymph flow in an arm or leg, or lymphedema. Our team of experienced doctors and technologists will perform the procedure.

Before Arriving for Your Exam

  • There are no preps for this procedure. However, if you are going directly to surgery, there will be preparations for surgery.  Consult your referring physician for the preparations you should follow.
  • If your doctor gave you an order, please bring it with you.
  • Please leave your jewelry and valuables at home.

After Arriving

  • Upon arrival, a technologist will explain the procedure and answer any questions you may have.  You will most likely be asked to change into a gown if the area of interest needs to be exposed.

During Your Exam

  • You will receive an injection of a tracer dose of radioactive material near the tumor site, just below the skin’s surface. The level of radioactivity is extremely low and has no side effects. The injection will take less than three minutes.
  • During your scan, you will be required to lie flat on your back unless the lesion is on your back, in which case adjustments will be made.
  • There is often a need to gently massage the injection site to start the flow of the tracer. For some procedures, you may be asked to exercise lightly, for example walking for leg exams or doing handgrip exercises for arm exams.
  • Pictures of your body will be obtained using a special nuclear medicine camera. The camera detects and records the distribution of the radioactive tracer which was injected.
  • Please note: Depending on your lymphatic flow, this procedure can take anywhere from 30 min to 2 1/2 hours. 

After Your Exam

  • Your study will be reviewed by an imaging physician specialist and the results sent to your physician. Your physician will discuss these results with you and explain what they mean in relation to your health.
  • Directions and Parking Information
  • We recommend that you park in the South Tower, since your procedure will be performed in the South Tower after your lymphoscintigraphy.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 310-423-8000.