How To Prepare continued...
Gallium builds up in the large intestine before your body gets rid of it as stool. So you may need to take a laxative the night before the scan. You may also need an enema 1 to 2 hours before the scan. This is to help your doctor more clearly see the areas of your body that are being studied.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have about the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
How It Is Done
A gallium scan is usually done by a nuclear medicine technologist. In most cases, a radiologist or nuclear medicine specialist will interpret the scan pictures.
The technologist will clean a site on your arm and then inject a small amount of radioactive tracer. You will need to come back for the scans. Gallium scans are usually done 24 hours (1 day), 48 hours (2 days), and 72 hours (3 days) after the tracer is injected.
When you come in for the scan, you may need to remove your jewelry. You may also need to take off all or most of your clothes. It depends on which area is being examined. You will be given a cloth or paper to cover yourself during the test.
You will lie on your back on a table. A large camera will be close above you. The camera will scan for radiation released by the tracer. It will make pictures of the tracer in your tissues. The camera may move slowly above and around your body. The camera does not produce any radiation, so you are not exposed to more radiation while the scan is being done.
You may be asked to move into different positions so the area of interest can be viewed from other angles. You need to lie very still during each scan to avoid blurring the pictures. You may be asked to hold your breath briefly during some of the scans.
Each scan may take about 60 to 90 minutes.