White Cell Scan Information Sheet

Download this Information Sheet

What is a White Cell Scan?

A White Cell Scan is used to find any sources of infection or inflammation in the body. White cells collect in these areas of soft tissue or bone in an attempt to fight the infection or inflammation.

What preparation is required?

There is no specific preparation for this test – you do not need to fast, or skip any medications. We suggest you drink plenty of fluid throughout the day of the test, and empty your bladder often. This will help to improve the images and lower your radiation dose.

It is important to bring any previous test results and your Medicare card with you on the day

What happens during the test?

There are four or five parts to every White Cell Scan.

PART 1: We will insert a cannula into a vein in your arm, and take a small amount (20ml, about a tablespoon) of your blood. WAIT: There is a 1hr wait. It takes an hour for us to label your blood with the tracer.

PART 2: For the second part of the test we will give you your blood back.

WAIT: There is then a 30min wait for the blood to circulate in your body.

PART 3: We will do the first scan of your body. This will take about 30-45min.

WAIT: There is then a 3hr wait for the white cells to keep circulating in your body and collecting in any infections

PART 4: We then do the second scan of your body. This will take about 1hr.

PART 5: Sometimes we need to do images after 24hrs. We will tell you at the end of the second scan if we need you to attend the next morning.

Are there any side effects?

There should be no side effects from the tracer injection, and no restrictions following the test. You will be able to continue with your usual daily activities. The amount of radiation used is small.

How long will the test take?

Please allow all day for the test, and please allow for the possibility that you will also need to attend the next morning for 1 hour.

Can I have this test while I am pregnant or breast feeding?

Your doctors may have requested that you undergo this examination while you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Your doctors will have considered and discussed the risks and benefits of having the scan to the health of both you and your baby. This test is not considered to be suitable to have while you are pregnant.

As part of the procedure you will be given the opportunity to further discuss any concerns that you may have including the potential risks and benefits with one of our staff members.

This examination may have been deemed suitable for you to undergo while you are breastfeeding. You will need to cease breastfeeding for 24 hours following the administration of the radiotracer. It is advised that you express and discard your breast milk during this period. You may resume routine breast feeding after 24 hours. Further information may be obtained from the staff member performing your scan.

Family / Friends

Due to the small size of the Nuclear Medicine waiting area we ask that you limit the number of family members accompanying you for your visit.


Canberra Hospital Map