A gallium scan is a
nuclear medicine test that can check for problem areas in certain tissues in your body.
A radioactive tracer (tracer) called gallium
citrate is injected into a vein in your arm. It moves through your bloodstream and into certain tissues. These tissues include your bones, liver, and intestine, and areas that are inflamed or have a buildup of
white blood cells. After the tracer builds up in your body, a special camera takes pictures. The pictures show the areas where
the amount of tracer is higher than normal. These areas are called hot spots.
It often takes
the tracer a few days to build up. So the pictures (scans) are usually taken
at 2 days and again at 3 days after you get the tracer. The tracer stays
in you until your body gets rids of it through urine or stool
Why It Is Done
A gallium scan is done to:
- Find the source of an infection that is
causing a fever.
- Look for an
abscess or certain infections, especially in the
- Check the response to
inflammatory problems such as
pulmonary fibrosis or
- Find certain types of
cancer (such as
lymphoma). The scan also may be done to see if
cancer has spread (metastasized) to other areas of the body. Or it may check how
well a cancer treatment is working.
How To Prepare
Before this test, tell your
- You are or might be pregnant.
- If you plan to no longer feed your baby your breast milk after the test, stop breast-feeding 2 weeks before the test. The
radioactive tracer will not build up in your breast tissue.
- If you will
continue to breast-feed after the test, talk with your doctor about how long to wait to use your milk after the test. Many doctors suggest waiting 4 weeks before you give your breast milk to your baby. This is because the tracer can pass to your baby. Some doctors may advise you to stop breast-feeding completely
after this scan.
- Within the 4 days before the scan, you have:
Barium and bismuth can affect the test
- Had an X-ray test using barium
contrast material. This includes a
- Taken a medicine that contains bismuth, such as Pepto-Bismol.