How to Find Infections

So you have done absolutely everything to get well, including having the mesh and the anchors removed and yet you still have infections. It can be extremely frustrating and you need to find out why or where the infection is hidden in your body. This happens all the time and one woman told me recently what she did and what kind of test she took to find out where it was and what to do about it.

Where do you begin? The best place is to see an Infectious Disease doctor, but like all doctors they aren’t all great or even good. So you need to interview one and go by gut instinct. If the one you go to seems adverse in discussing your mesh complications, then RUN don’t walk away because it is a waste of money and time, when you really need help.

Once you have found one, you can discuss all you have tried to help you become infection free and see what they think would be helpful. The woman I spoke to had a wonderful infectious disease doctor and he recommended a test to find out if indeed there was infection in her body and where it was. That test is called a WBC scan.

I found a great write up which explains what this scan is and how it is performed. This is what it says.

WBC scan. A white blood cell (WBC) scan is an imaging test that uses a radioactive material called a tracer. It looks for infection or inflammation in the body. It is a type of nuclear scan.

How the Test is Performed? Blood will be taken from one of your veins. White blood cells are separated from the rest of the blood sample. They are then mixed with a small amount of a radioactive material (radioisotope) called indium-111. These cells are considered tagged.

The tagged white blood cells are injected back into your body through a vein 2 to 3 hours later. The tagged cells gather in areas of inflammation or infection.

Your body will be scanned 6 to 24 hours later. You will lie on a table for the scan. The scanner, which looks like an x-ray machine, will pick up radiation given off by the tagged white blood cells. A computer creates an image from the radiation, which is picked up and displayed on a screen.

The scan takes about 1 or 2 hours. The scanner is most often located in a hospital. Often the test can be performed on an outpatient basis.

You do not have to take any special steps after the test is over. You may go back to your normal diet, activity, and medicines.

How to Prepare for the Test. You do not need special preparation for this test. You must sign a consent form.

You will need to wear a hospital gown or loose clothing without metal zippers or snaps. You will need to take off jewelry, dentures, or anything with metal before the scan. The health care provider may ask that you stop taking antibiotics before this test.

Tell your provider if:

  • You have had a gallium scan within the previous month.
  • You are receiving dialysis, total parenteral nutrition (through an IV), or steroid therapy.
  • You have hyperglycemia.
  • You are taking long-term antibiotics.

This procedure is NOT recommended if you are pregnant. Tell your provider if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. Women of childbearing age (before menopause) should use some form of birth control over the course of this procedure.

How the Test will Fee. You will feel a sharp prick from the needle when the blood sample is taken and again when it is returned to your vein. The scan itself is painless. The table that you lie on may be hard or cold. You will not feel the radioactive material.

Why the Test is Performed. WBC scan is done to look for a hidden infection. It is very useful in looking for infection or inflammation in the abdomen or bones.

Your provider may suggest this test if you may have an abscess, osteomyelitis, or unexplained fever, particularly after surgery.

Normal Results. A normal result means that tagged cells have not gathered abnormally.

What Abnormal Results Mean. Abnormal results may mean you have an active inflammation or infection. This could include a liver or abdominal abscess, or osteomyelitis of the bone.

Risks. You will be exposed to a small amount of radiation from the radioisotope. The materials break down very quickly. Almost all radioactivity will be gone within 1 or 2 days. The scanner does not give off any radiation.

Due to the slight radiation exposure, most nuclear scans (including WBC scan) are not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Other risks from having blood drawn include:

  • Too much bleeding
  • Fainting or feeling light-headed
  • Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
  • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)

Very rarely, a person may have an allergic reaction to the radioisotope.

Alternative Names. Leukocyte scan.

I hope this blog, helps you find a way to good health.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *