salivary gland scan uses a special camera and a
tracer (radioactive chemical) to take pictures of the
salivary glands . This can help your doctor find the cause of dry mouth (xerostomia) or swelling in the salivary glands.
During a salivary gland scan, the tracer liquid is put into a vein (IV) in your arm. The tracer moves through your blood
and into the salivary glands. A special camera takes pictures to show how much
tracer stays in the salivary glands.
Why It Is Done
A salivary gland scan is done
- Find the cause of swelling in the major salivary glands. Swelling
may be caused by an infection (abscess),
inflammation, or a pocket of fluid (cyst).
- See if a growth in the
parotid gland is a benign Warthin's tumor or may be cancer.
- Find the
cause of dry mouth (xerostomia). Several problems can cause
dry mouth, such as a blocked salivary duct, a growth in a salivary gland, or
How To Prepare
Before the salivary gland scan, tell
your doctor if you:
- Are or might be pregnant.
breast-feeding. You will need to use formula for 1 to 2 days after the scan so
you won't pass the tracer to your baby. You should throw out any breast milk
you collect during this time.
- Have had other nuclear scans
recently. If so, the salivary gland scan may need to be delayed.
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 may
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 salivary gland scan is usually done
by a nuclear medicine technologist. The pictures are usually interpreted by a
nuclear medicine specialist.
You will need to take off jewelry that may get in the way of the scan.
During a salivary
gland scan, you will sit with the camera placed at your neck. A small amount of
tracer is put in your vein (IV).
camera will scan for radiation released by the tracer. The pictures are taken
every few minutes during the scan. You need to stay very still during the scan
so the pictures are not blurry.
You may be asked to suck on a
lemon after the first pictures are taken. This causes your salivary glands to
release more saliva. Then more pictures are taken.
gland scan takes about 1 hour.
How It Feels
You will not feel pain during the test. You may feel a quick sting or pinch when the IV is put in your arm. The tracer may make you feel warm and flushed.
You may find it hard to lie still during the