Your Child's Meckels Scan

Nuclear Medicine Department, Turner Diagnostic Centre, Colchester General Hospital, Turner Road Colchester, CO4 5JL.

01206 742337/742367

Children’s Outpatient Department 01206 746177


Your child has been given an appointment to come for a Meckels scan.

We hope this digital leaflet will provide you with useful information and answer any questions you may have.

More Information

A Meckels diverticulum is an area of stomach lining that may bleed, that has formed within the wall of the small intestine. A Meckels scan looks at the function of the intestines to see if there is a Meckels diverticulum present. The scan checks to see if there have been any sites of bleeding within the abdominal area.

A radioactive tracer is injected into a vein in the hand. This tracer has been specially prepared so that it concentrates into the areas within the body that contain stomach lining tissue, known as the gastric mucosa. The substance gives off gamma rays so that pictures can be obtained by using a gamma camera.

You will be asked to attend the Children’s Outpatient Department so your child can be prepared for the scan. Your appointment letter will give you details of the time. The Children’s Outpatient Department is marked on the hospital map on the last tab below.

If your child is having any other tests today, such as X-rays, ultrasound scans or blood tests, please inform the receptionist in the Children’s Outpatient Department.

For this scan your child must not eat or drink for six hours before the appointment time, which is clearly shown on your appointment letter. Small sips of water can be given if needed up to two hours before the appointment time but your child must not have any juice or milky drinks.

Your child will not have to undress but any large metal objects, such as belt buckles, may need to be removed. The procedure is not uncomfortable.

If for any reason you will be unable to keep your appointment, please inform the Nuclear Medicine Department as soon as possible on 01206 742337.

Please come at the time specified. Please try to avoid bringing any other children under the age of 16 to this appointment.

On arrival, your child will be weighed. A play specialist will explain what will happen during the scan and help you and your child using pictures and play.

A small tube called a cannula will be inserted into a vein by a doctor or nurse. Anaesthetic spray will be used to make this as painless as possible. The play specialist will support you and your child throughout this procedure.

Your child will need to empty his or her bladder before the pictures are taken.

The pictures are taken while your child is lying on a couch, not in a tunnel.

Continuous pictures will be taken for one hour. During this time your child will need to be kept as still as possible. You can be with your child throughout. A play specialist is available to help with distraction and you may wish to bring a favourite toy, book or DVD. For very young children we can sometimes use specialist equipment to help them keep still for the scan.

Two further pictures will be taken, which will take another 15 minutes.

You child will be asked to empty his or her bladder or you will need to change his or her nappy before the last image is taken.

When the scan is finished your child may eat and drink. Snacks and Winks are available at the hospital, either in Senses Restaurant on the first floor of the main building or at the League of Hospital Friends shop at the main entrance.

The results from this test will show the function of the intestines and whether a Meckels diverticulum is present or not. It will enable the consultant to decide on the most appropriate treatment for your child.

There is a very small radiation dose involved in this procedure – much lower than a normal X-ray, although it is necessary to take some precautions for the first 24 hours after the test, while the tracer substance is leaving the body: 

  • your child should drink plenty of fluids. This will allow the tracer substance to pass as quickly as possible; 
  • if your child is toilet trained, he or she should go to the toilet as often as possible; 
  • if your child is in nappies, you should change them frequently and dispose of nappies in an outside bin. Wash your hands thoroughly after nappy changing; 
  • your child should continue to take any medicines as usual. The tracer will not affect them in any way.

There are no other side effects.

The results will be discussed with you at your next doctor’s appointment. Please do not ring the Children’s Unit or the Nuclear Medicine Department for the results.

Please do not hesitate to contact any of the numbers on the front of this leaflet if you require further information.

When your child attends hospital you will be asked for his or her NHS number and other information, such as your address. Please be patient with this procedure as it is to ensure our records are kept up to date and to protect your child’s safety. If you do not know his or her NHS number, please don’t worry, he or she will still receive care.

As part of your child’s treatment, a photographic record may be made, such as X-ray(s), clinical photographs or digital images, which will be kept confidentially in their health records and seen only by people involved in his or her care or quality checking. They are also extremely important for teaching or medical research so we may ask for your written consent to use the images, in which case your child’s personal details will be removed so he or she cannot be identified.

When your child attends hospital you will be asked to confirm his or her first and last names, date of birth, postcode and NHS number, if you know it, and to let us know if he or she has any allergies.

Parking is sometimes difficult and the main public car park at Colchester General Hospital is situated some distance from several departments. Please allow adequate time so that you and anyone with you can arrive together, unflustered. A ticket system is in operation so please bring change for the ticket machine.

Colchester Park and Ride is located opposite the Weston Homes Community Stadium (at J28 of the A12) and the buses stop outside the back of the hospital. It runs from 7am-7 pm, Monday to Saturday. For more information see or call 0345 743 0430.

Please raise any concerns in the ward or department you are in. Ask to speak with the ward sister, matron or department manager. If your concerns cannot be resolved or you wish to make a formal complaint, please call PALS (Patient Advice & Liaison Service) on 0800 783 7328 or pick up a PALS leaflet.

Please help us improve our services by answering a simple question, in our online survey “Overall, how was your experience of our services?” This survey is known as “The Friends and Family Test”.

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