What you need to know about:

Gallium Scan

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Overview of

Gallium Scan

in Thailand

A gallium scan is a type of nuclear medical imaging test. Nuclear medicine uses radioactive materials to create images of the body. These materials emit radiation which is detected by special machines and in turn can produce images of your body. A gallium scan uses radioactive gallium citrate. A special camera can then detect where the gallium has built up in your body. It can then form an image to show where the cells of your body are reproducing the most. The scan might give your healthcare provider information about cancer, infection, or inflammation in your body.

Goals of

Gallium Scan

Your doctor may order a gallium scan if you have unexplained pains or fever, or if there is a suspicion of cancer. Doctors also order the scan as a follow-up test for people who have been diagnosed or treated for cancer. There are also many other diagnostic applications for a gallium scan.

Gallium scans can be done to assess the extent of involvement in malignancies such as Hodgkin’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, hepatoma, lung cancer and melanoma. It is also used for patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or Hodgkin’s disease to determine the effectiveness of therapy.

Price of

Gallium Scan

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Pros and cons of

Gallium Scan

Pros

-Good diagnostic tool for evaluating Hodgkin’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, hepatoma, lung cancer and melanoma.  

-Gallium scans can also be used in patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or Hodgkin’s disease to determine the effectiveness of therapy.  

-Although replaced by more effective diagnostic tools such as positron emission tomogrpahy that uses fludeoxyglucose, gallium imaging is still used to image inflammation and chronic infections, and it still sometimes locates unsuspected tumors as it is taken up by many kinds of cancer cells in amounts that exceed those of normal tissues.  

Cons

-A gallium scan is a very safe procedure. But it does have some risks. These include: allergic reactions, which rarely might cause trouble breathing, rashes and nausea  

-The scan uses a small amount of radiation. Although large amounts of radiation can increase your risk of cancer, the exposure from a gallium scan is very small.

How it works:

Gallium Scan

Gallium is injected intravenously approximately 2 days before your procedure to allow it to travel all over your body. Gallium builds up in any cells that are actively dividing, such as cancer cells. It also binds to cells and proteins involved in inflammation in your body. On the day of the actual scan, which usually takes palce at 24 hrs, 48 hrs and 72 hrs after the injection. you will lie on your back on a scanner table for about an hour. A special camera can then detect where the gallium has built up in your body. It can then form an image to show where the cells of your body are reproducing the most. The scan might give your healthcare provider information about cancer, infection, or inflammation in your body. There are many factors which determine the proper procedure for you.

Preparation before

Gallium Scan

Pre - treatment

Before you get the gallium citrate injection, yourdoctorer will review your health history. You will dicuss with him/ her about:  -Any recent symptoms -Medicine allergies -Your medicines -Any over-the-counter medicines you are taking, especially those that contain bismuth  Tell your healthcare provider if you might be pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding. You will be asked if you have had any recent medical tests that use barium such as a barium swallow exam or CT scan.  You typically go to the nuclear medicine department at a scheduled time to get the injection of gallium citrate. You will likely get the injection in a vein in your arm and may go home afterwards to resume your normal activities. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any reactions to the injection, such as prolonged nausea.  Your doctor will let you know if you need to make any changes to your normal medicines, diet, or activities. You might need to take a laxative for several nights before your scheduled scan. You also might need to have an enema a couple hours before your exam. It may help to get a better image.

Recovery after

Gallium Scan

Post - treatment

You can usually home right away and resume your normal daily activities. The scan itself should not cause any side effects. The gallium will leave the body over the next several days. Your healthcare provider might give you more instructions. For example, drinking extra water may help flush out the gallium.  A nuclear medicine specialize will read your scans and interpret the images. That person will send the results to your primary healthcare provider. The image will look like a grey outline of your body with certain darker areas.  The results of your scan may help your healthcare provider create a treatment plan for you. You might need another scan to see how your treatment has progressed.

Risks & side effects

Because the doses of radiopharmaceutical administered are very small, nuclear medicine procedures result in exposure to a small dose of radiation.

Nuclear medicine has been used for more than five decades, and there are no known long-term adverse effects from such low-dose studies.  

As with all radiologic procedures, be sure to inform your physician if you are pregnant. In general, exposure to radiation during pregnancy should be kept to a minimum.  

Allergic reactions to the radiopharmaceutical can occur, but are extremely rare.

FAQs:

Gallium Scan

What kind of problems does a gallium scan look for?

A gallium scan can help diagnose:  -Cancer, such as Hodgkin lymphoma. -Infection, such as an abscess (collection of pus) or osteomyelitis (bone infection). -Inflammatory conditions (for example, pulmonary fibrosis or sarcoidosis). -The test is often used when a person has a fever for an unknown reason. It also frequently looks for remaining cancer cells after a person has had treatment.

Is a nuclear scan dangerous?

A gallium test isn’t dangerous. It uses a minimal amount of radiation, often the same amount as a few X-rays.

What is the mechanism behind how gallium scans work?

When gallium is injected into your body, it attaches to proteins in your blood. Then it travels through your body and gathers in places where there is inflammation or infection. It takes a couple of days for the gallium to circulate and settle. Gallium sends out radioactive gamma rays, which a gamma camera can detect. A gamma camera takes pictures and sends them to a computer. The computer images show different colors (for example, red may mean a lot or gallium and blue may mean none). An increased uptake of gallium may indicate a new or old infection, an inflammatory focus from any cause, or a cancerous tumor.

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