Test Details & Preparation
A gallium scan is a nuclear medicine test that can check for problem areas in certain tissues in your body.
A radioactive tracer (tracer) called gallium citrate is injected into a vein in your arm. It moves through your bloodstream and into certain tissues. These tissues include your bones, liver, and intestine, and areas that are inflamed or have a build-up of white blood cells. After the tracer builds up in your body, a special camera takes pictures. The pictures show the areas where the amount of tracer is higher than normal. These areas are called hot spots.
It often takes the tracer a few days to build up. So the pictures (scans) are usually taken at 2 days and again at 3 days after you get the tracer. The tracer stays in you until your body gets rids of it through urine or stool.
A gallium scan is done to find the source of an infection that is causing a fever look for an abscess or certain infections, especially in the bones check the response to antibiotic treatment diagnose inflammatory problems such as pulmonary fibrosis or sarcoidosis and find certain types of cancer (such as lymphoma).
Before a gallium scan, tell your doctor if you are or might be pregnant or breastfeeding.
Gallium builds up in the large intestine before your body gets rid of it as stool. So you may need to take a laxative the night before the scan. You may also need an enema 1 to 2 hours before the scan. This is to help your doctor more clearly see the areas of your body that are being studied.
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.
A normal gallium scan shows 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.
An abnormal gallium scan shows 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 tumour.