Gallium scan

Gallium Scan Overview

A Gallium scan is a type of medical imaging used to diagnose and monitor certain bone, cancer and other types of diseases. It works by injecting a small amount of radioactive gallium into the body, which is absorbed by parts of the body with increased metabolism or inflammation. The resulting images show areas of inflammation or active metabolic processes.

Preparation for Gallium Scan

A patient may be asked to fast for several hours before a gallium scan is performed. It is important to inform the doctor and technician of any medications the patient is taking and of any allergies they may have.

Gallium Scan Procedure

A gallium scan begins with the injection of a small amount of gallium citrate into a vein in the patient’s arm. The carefully measured dose of gallium citrate is allowed to spread throughout the body. Usually, scans are started 24 hours after the injection and are repeated several days later. The patient may be asked to remain still while the images are taken.

Types of Gallium Scan

  • Gallium-67 scans
  • Gallium-68 scans
  • Gallium-labeled white blood cell scans
  • Gallium-labeled monoclonal antibody scans

Risks of Gallium Scan

Gallium scans are generally considered safe, and the radiation associated with the scans is similar to that of other standard x-ray procedures. However, it is not recommended for pregnant women and may not be recommended for young children and people with certain kidney or heart conditions.

Why are Gallium Scans Used?

Gallium scans are useful in the diagnosis of infections, bone and joint diseases, lymph node enlargement, and lymphomas. They are also used to identify tumor activity or assess response to treatment.

When Can a Doctor Order a Gallium Scan?

The doctor may recommend a gallium scan to diagnose or monitor conditions such as infections, cancer, or arthritis. It can also be ordered by the doctor to monitor the response of treatments for certain conditions.