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To the performance overview

Brain scintigraphy

The scintigraphy of the dopamine transport density (DaTSCAN) is a nuclear medical examination in which the functionality of certain structures in the brain, so-called dopamine transporter, is examined. A low-radiation marker substance is administered and its distribution in the brain can then be tracked with a gamma camera and displayed as an image (scintigram).

The aim of the examination is to clarify an existing movement disorder. With DaTSCAN it is possible to visualize diseases such as Parkinson’s disease or Parkinson’s syndrome at a very early stage. They can be distinguished from harmless forms of “trembling” (Essential Tremor). The Essential Tremor is one of the most frequent movement disorders, which increases with age. Parkinsonian syndromes, on the other hand, are characterized by the fact that nerve cells are destroyed or altered in a certain area of the brain. These pathological modified cells can be detected with the DaTSCAN because the radiotracer accumulates there in a reduced form.

Figure left: normal findings.

Figure left: normal findings.

Figure right: There is a reduced dopamine transporter density in the putamen which reveals the existence of Parkinson’s disease.

Figure right: There is a reduced dopamine transporter density in the putamen which reveals the existence of Parkinson’s disease.


Examination procedure

First, you will get some drops of the drug Irenat® to protect the thyroid gland. Then a small amount of a low-radiation marker substance is injected, which accumulates in central brain regions (the striatum) within three to four hours.

The substances used are very well tolerated; allergic reactions are not known. The radiation load is low and quickly degraded.

After about three to four hours, we will take pictures of the brain with a gamma camera. You will lie on a stretcher as the camera rotates slowly around your head. These recordings will take approximately thirty minutes.

The entire examination will take about five to six hours. For the waiting period of three to four hours you do not have to stay at the practice. You may go home or go to work or to the DKD cafeteria.


Preparation before and after the examination

You may eat in advance to the examination.

You can take your medication as usual. However, we kindly ask you to bring a list of your medications with you.

Please drink a lot between injection of the substance and the images.

If a MRI has already been performed, please provide the images and the results beforehand.

The radiotracer is individually ordered for each patient and is not storable (the costs run several hundred euros). Hence we kindly ask you to always keep your appointment on time and if for any reason you need to reschedule or cancel your appointment please do this at least two days in advance.

We will send the examination results to your treating physician as soon as possible. He will then contact you to discuss the results as well as the possibility of a treatment.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions!