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Gallium Scan

How To Prepare continued...

Gallium builds up in the large intestine (colon) before it is eliminated in the stool. You may need to take a laxative the night before the scan and have an enema 1 to 2 hours before the scan to prevent the gallium in your colon from interfering with pictures of the area being studied.

Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding 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. The scan pictures are usually interpreted by a radiologist or nuclear medicine specialist.

The technologist cleans the site on your arm where the radioactive tracer will be injected. A small amount of the radioactive tracer is then injected. You will need to return for the diagnostic 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 will need to remove any jewelry that might interfere with the scan. You may need to take off all or most of your clothes, depending on which area is being examined (you may be allowed to keep on your underwear if it does not interfere with the test). You will be given a cloth or paper covering to use during the test.

You will lie on your back on a table, and a large scanning camera will be positioned closely above you. After the radioactive tracer is injected, the camera will scan for radiation released by the tracer and produce 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 any additional 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.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 29, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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