Nuclear Medicine Gallium Scan

What is a nuclear medicine gallium scan?

A nuclear medicine gallium scan is a type of nuclear medicine study that scans your whole body to detect infection or tumors.  Gallium is taken up by many kinds of cancer cells in amounts that exceed normal uptake from normal tissue. It can be useful in detecting new infection or a cancerous tumor. Nuclear medicine gallium scans are commonly used in detecting lymphoma tumors. This study is performed over the course of three days.

What to Expect

During your first visit, you will be given an injection of the radioactive material (gallium). You will be given a laxative (magnesium citrate) to take home and use that afternoon.

Your scan will be scheduled on day 2, approximately 24 hours following your first visit to our center. You will be required to lie still on the exam table during the scan unless prompted to move or change positions. The procedure takes about 1-2 hours. Approximately 24 hours later following your scan on day 2, you will be scheduled for another scan on day 3. This scan will be very similar to the scan performed on day 2.

You will feel no pain and minimal discomfort during the nuclear medicine gallium scan. The radioactive material is quickly released from the body and the radiation dose from this test is similar to most routine x-ray procedures.

Patient Preparation

There is no preparation before the first day of your exam, however, during your first visit you will receive a laxative to use at home that afternoon before your scan on day 2.