Salivary Gland Scan
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 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. The radioactive tracer used in this test can get into your breast milk. Do not breast-feed your baby for 2 days after this test. During this time, you can give your baby breast milk you stored before the test, or you can give formula. Discard the breast milk you pump for 2 days after the test.
- 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.