Scanning techniques using suitable radioactive pharmaceuticals provide an innocuous, simple, and usually reliable method for obtaining anatomic and physiologic information concerning many organs of the body. Pancreatic scanning has been a practical procedure for six years. Selenomethionine Se 75, an amino acid analogue in which radioactive selenium is substituted for the sulfur molecule in methionine, is presently the only available radioactive pharmaceutical suitable for visualizing the pancreas.1 Visualization of the mass of pancreatic acinar cells depends upon the fact that the digestive enzymes they produce have a rapid turnover resulting in a relatively high uptake of amino acids by the pancreas.
Diagnosis of early pancreatic disease by indirect means such as enzyme analysis, cytology, and roentgenographic procedures including selective arteriography, as well as the direct methods of surgical visualization and pathologic examination, may prove uncertain. The scanning technique lies between the two methods of approach offering the only nonsurgical