Scintigraphic evaluation of hepatic mass lesions: emphasis on hemangioma detection

Semin Nucl Med. 1996 Jan;26(1):4-15. doi: 10.1016/s0001-2998(96)80012-2.


Nuclear medicine imaging techniques continue to play a unique role in the evaluation of hepatic masses. Although many useful radiodiagnostic agents are available, the predominant nuclear medicine study used to evaluate hepatic masses in this decade is technetium-labeled red blood cell "blood-pool" scintigraphy. Hepatic blood-pool scintigraphy is extremely useful for the confirmation or exclusion of benign hepatic hemangiomas. This technique was first described in the 1970s and has vastly improved since that time. This improvement has been caused predominantly by advancements in instrumentation, especially the development of single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) imaging. However, a perfusion/blood-pool mismatch remains unchanged as the hallmark finding for hepatic hemangiomas. The sensitivity and specificity of blood-pool scanning for the detection of hemangiomas has continued to increase over the years, and has not been equaled or surpassed by other radiographic modalities, with the possible exception of magnetic resonance imaging. Furthermore, blood-pool imaging is relatively inexpensive, simple to perform, and highly accurate. When a suspected hepatic hemangioma is confirmed by a positive radionuclide blood-pool study, the clinical evaluation of patients with hepatic masses can generally be terminated.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Hemangioma / blood supply
  • Hemangioma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Liver / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver Neoplasms / blood supply
  • Liver Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radionuclide Angiography
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon