Frequently Asked Questions

Gallium Scan

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What do I need to know about a gallium scan?

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.

How do I prepare for a gallium scan?

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.

What will happen during a gallium 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.

What are the risks of a gallium scan?

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.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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