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A gallium scan is a test to find abnormal areas in the soft tissue of your body. This test may be used to find growths, or areas of infection or swelling. Gallium is a radioactive substance that is used as a tracer in this test.
You are usually allowed to eat, drink, and take the medicines you normally take before this scan. Bowel movements in your intestines can affect the test results. Your healthcare provider may tell you to take laxative medicine or a suppository the night before the scan. You may also need to have an enema 1 to 2 hours before the scan.
Gallium is injected into a vein, usually in your hand or arm. You may be asked to return at 24, 48, 72, and 96 hours after the injection. A camera moves slowly over and around you as you are lying down. It takes pictures of the areas where the gallium has collected. Do not move unless healthcare providers ask you to change positions. Movement can make the pictures blurry. Each scan takes 45 to 90 minutes.
Rarely, you may develop a rash, swelling, or have a serious allergic reaction to gallium. The place where the injection was given may become red, swollen, or painful. Some types of cancers do not show up on a gallium scan.
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