Gallium is a radioactive compound which is injected in the vein of your arm. Once injected, gallium is slowly distributed in different organs in the body. Usually, the scan is performed 2-3 days after the injection of gallium. Depending on the information desired by your physician and depending on the findings on the initial scan, additional imaging is sometimes performed on subsequent days.
A gallium scan can be useful for a variety of diagnoses, including determining the cause of fever when other tests and examinations fail and in patients with scaroidosis, to determine the extent of active disase.
When you first come to the nuclear medicine department you will receive intravenous injection of gallium in the vein of your arm. You will then be asked to come 2-3 days after the injection for the scan. Depending on your clinical condition and information desired by your referring physician, it may take anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes to perform the gallium scan.
Before the Procedure
There is no preparation prior to a gallium scan. If you are taking any medications routinely, you can continue to do so on the day of the gallium scan. Unless you are having another procedure that requires you to avoid food, you can have your regular meals before coming to the department. In some of the patients who may be required to come back for additional imaging after the initial scan is completed, a mild laxative or a fleet enema may be required before returning for the additional imaging so that the gallium is cleared from the bowel loops, thereby providing a better image of your abdomen.