Salivary Gland Scan
There is a slight chance of damage to cells or
tissue from radiation, including the low levels of radiation used for this
test. But the chance of damage from the X-rays is usually very low compared
with the benefits of the test.
Allergic reactions to the tracer are very rare.
In some cases,
soreness or swelling may develop at the IV site. Apply a moist, warm compress
to your arm to relieve these symptoms.
salivary gland scan uses a special camera and a
tracer (radioactive chemical) to take pictures of the
salivary glands .
The results of a salivary gland scan are usually
available within 2 days.
Salivary gland scan
The tracer moves evenly
through the salivary glands and is released normally into the mouth.
The salivary ducts leading
from the salivary glands are not blocked. Saliva is released in response to
sucking on a lemon.
The tracer does not move
evenly through the salivary glands. A pocket of fluid (cyst), a pocket
of infection (abscess), or a tumor or other growth may be
The tracer may not flow
normally from the salivary glands into the mouth. This may be caused by a tumor
pressing on the duct, a stone in the duct, or inflammation of the
The flow of tracer through the
salivary glands is decreased. This may point to a condition, such as
The amount of tracer in the
salivary glands in front of the ear is greatly increased. This may indicate
inflammation or infection of the parotid glands (parotitis).
What Affects the Test
Reasons you may not be able to
have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
- Pregnancy. A salivary gland scan is not usually
done during pregnancy, because the radiation could harm the
developing baby (fetus).
- The inability to stay still during the test.
What To Think About
- In North America, a salivary gland scan is
rarely done. Most often, a
CT scan or
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is done to look at
the salivary glands. An
ultrasound scan also may be done to look at the
salivary glands. But a salivary scan is the only test that can see how well the
salivary glands are working.
- Although a salivary gland scan may be
done to evaluate dry mouth caused by
Sjögren's syndrome, it usually is not used to diagnose
this disease. But a salivary gland scan may be used to diagnose Sjögren's
syndrome in a person who has
Other Works Consulted
Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Primary Medical Reviewer
||Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
||Howard Schaff, MD - Diagnostic Radiology
||July 28, 2011