Q. Can a nuclear scan detect bowel infection?

Answered by
Dr. Vivek Chail
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Oct 28, 2015 and last reviewed on: Feb 11, 2019

Hi doctor,

I am a 70 year old female. My height is 165 cm (5'5") and weight is 70.3 kg (155 lbs). My current medications are Quinapril-HCTZ 20-25 mg and Diltiazem 24HR ER 120 mg. I am experiencing discomfort in the right buttock for the past one year. I had a total body nuclear scan done recently and the narrative is attached. I am being sent for a CT scan.

My doubts are, I got a total hip replacement in 2008. Would it be helpful to the CT scan radiologist to see the attached x-ray of the prosthesis since it shows a screw going into soft tissue? As this screw incidentally has been in the same position since 2008 and it has not caused any problem. Would it be helpful to the CT scan radiologist to see the narration of the nuclear scan? Is the CT scan capable of showing a possible bursitis inflammation?

Dr. Vivek Chail

Radiodiagnosis Radiology


Welcome to icliniq.com.

I have read through your query and reports (attachment removed to protect patient identity) in detail. Please find my observations below.

The x-ray is always useful when reporting a CT scan. It provides a two-dimensional picture of the screw which is seen to be partly in the region of soft tissues. As a radiologist, I will always be happy to see an x-ray if available.

The nuclear scan shows that there is no infection around the prosthesis. There is a small amount of suspected infection in the bowel or fallopian tube on the right side of the pelvis. This might help the radiologist to specifically look for bowel infection or fallopian tube pathology on the right side of the pelvis. The narration is beneficial to the radiologist to have a detailed look through your CT scan pelvis.

CT scan will show bursitis if it is severe. Recent studies have shown an MRI scan to be the investigation of choice for inflammatory bursitis. In your case, bursitis is less likely because the nuclear scan does not show any abnormality in the region.

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Hi doctor,

Thank you for replying. If the radiologist says "inflammation" does this rule out infection with bacteria? As a matter of information only, the CT scan I subsequently got done is attached. The hospital did not let me show the x-ray, as all information had to come from a doctor's office to the radiologist.

Dr. Vivek Chail

Radiodiagnosis Radiology


Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) are the two principal forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and many less common conditions are also there.

Research has shown the role of intestinal bacteria as one of the causative factors in inflammatory bowel disease. Please note that acute bowel infection due to bacteria is a different condition but both the conditions might exist at the same time.

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