What is a gallium scan?
A gallium scan is used to determine infection of the spine/disk space, retroperitoneal fibrosis, detection of chronic infection, assessment of interstitial lung disease, sarcoidosis, pulmonary toxicity, and for some tumors.
How should I prepare for a gallium scan?
There is no prep for this scan.
How long does the test take?
There are typically 2-3 visits to the Nuclear Medicine department in order to complete this test. On your first visit a small injection of a radioactive isotope will be injected into a vein. There are no side effects to this injection. After this is complete you will be able to leave the department with a scheduled time to return in two days. When you return for your second visit there will be a series of images taken. You will be asked to remove all external metal from your body and lie onto our imaging table. First, the technologist will scan your body from head to knees. This scan takes about 20 minutes. Then another set of images will be taken called a SPECT/CT. This is a tomographic image combined with a non-diagnostic CT used for attenuation correction and takes about 25 minutes. You will also be scheduled to return to the nuclear medicine department the following day for the same set of images. This is required because the isotope circulates differently the following day.
How soon will the scan results be available?
A radiologist will interpret the images, write a report, and deliver the results to your doctor via the internal computer system.
It is essential to tell your doctor if you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant before undergoing this scan because of radiation exposure.