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    Gallium Scan

    How It Feels

    You may feel nothing at all from the needle puncture when the tracer is injected. Or you may feel a brief sting or pinch as the needle goes through the skin. Otherwise, a gallium scan usually causes no pain. You may find it hard to stay still during the scan. Ask for a pillow or blanket to make yourself as comfortable as you can before the scan begins.

    Risks

    There is always a slight risk of damage to cells or tissue from being exposed to any radiation. The tracer used for this test gives off a low level of radiation.

    Allergic reactions to the tracer are rare. Your body will get rid of most of the tracer (through your urine or stool) within 4 days. The amount of radiation is very small. So it is not a risk for people to come in contact with you after the test.

    Your injection site may swell or be sore. To get relief, you can apply a moist, warm compress to your arm.

    Results

    A gallium scan is a nuclear medicine test. A special camera takes pictures of certain tissues in the body after a radioactive tracer makes the tissues able to be seen. The test results are usually ready within 2 days after you had the scans.

    Gallium scan
    Normal:

    The collection and activity of gallium in the bones, liver, spleen, and large intestine is normal. No areas of unusual amounts of gallium are seen.

    Abnormal:

    An abnormally high amount of gallium (hot spot) is present in one or more areas of the body. This could mean inflammation, infection, or a tumor.

    What Affects the Test

    You may not be able to have the test, or the results may not be helpful, if:

    • You are pregnant. A gallium scan is not usually done during pregnancy because the radiation could harm the baby (fetus).
    • You have barium or bismuth in your system. If a gallium scan is needed, it should be done before any tests that use barium (such as a barium enema). Taking a medicine (such as Pepto-Bismol) that contains bismuth can also affect the test.
    • You can't stay still during the test.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: September 09, 2014
    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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