Gallium scan uses a radioactive tracer to check the problems in the body tissues. Gallium Citrate is injected into your bloodstream and in certain tissues to gauge the problem. It could be the tissues from the intestine, blood, liver or other parts of the body that are inflamed or have white blood cells.
How does Gallium Scan work?
The tracer travels through the bloodstream and is collected in the certain organs and bones. The tracer takes a few days to build up. The scan is taken on day 2 and then repeated on day 3 after the tracer is injected. The tracer is naturally removed from the body through urine or stool. A special camera detects the accumulation of Gallium in the body. The scan may take 30 to 60 minutes.
A nuclear medicine technologist conducts the test. The arm where the injection is given is cleaned and a small amount of radioactive tracer is given, the tracer has a low level of radiation. The allergic reactions are very rare as the tracer is removed within four days from your body through the natural elimination process. There is no risk to people who come in contact with you after the test.
Who needs Gallium Scan?
Gallium Scan is a diagnostic test for inflammation, tumours and infection. The doctor prescribes the scan for unexplained pain or fever or cancer suspects. It may be used as a follow-up test for cancer patients. It is also used to inspect the lungs. During the test, a minimal quantity of gallium should have been collected in the lungs for normal results.
Gallium 67 is used to look for cancerous cells in certain organs. The can be used as a whole body scan. The scanner locates places where gallium is collected in the body, and these areas are suspected of being infectious. The test cannot be conducted on a pregnant woman as the radioactive material can cause radiation harm to the fetus. The test is used for certain types of cancers like lymph nodes, bone marrow or bones. A normal scan cannot show the cancerous cells. Also, certain types of cancer do not show up on the gallium scan. Though, this type of scan cannot tell if a tumour is malignant or benign. The doctor best interprets the results after a series of other tests like X Rays, blood tests and physical examinations.
Gallium 67 is used in the diagnosis of acute myocarditis. Gallium 67 myocardial scintigraphy can be given to patients as intravenous injection. It is a useful means to access acute myocarditis in suspected patients.