Gallium scans often are used to diagnose and follow the progression of tumors or infections. Gallium scans also can be used to evaluate the heart, lungs, or any other organ that may be involved with inflammatory disease.
No special preparation is required before the study.
A gallium scan usually requires two visits to the Nuclear Medicine Department. On the first day, you will receive an injection in a vein in your arm. Your visit should take about 15 minutes and the injection will cause no more discomfort than having blood drawn.
You will be scheduled to return for imaging between two and four days later, depending on your diagnosis. Your initial scan is the longest part of the procedure and may take up to two hours. For most gallium scans, you will lie on a stretcher or imaging table with the camera positioned above or below you. Multiple images may be taken, or the camera may move slowly, scanning the entire length of your body. A SPECT (tomographic) study may be done to look at a particular area of your body in detail. This involves lying on a narrow imaging table while the camera rotates 360 degrees around you.
Because gallium is normally excreted through the bowel, it may obstruct our view of your abdomen and pelvis on the first day of imaging. Therefore, we may ask you to return on another day for more imaging.