Gallium Scan of Bone

Norm of Gallium Scan of Bone

Normal patterns of bone gallium uptake as interpreted by a nuclear medicine physician.


Usage of Gallium Scan of Bone

Detection of osteomyelitis, joint infections, and metastatic bone neoplasms (Wilms' tumor) or Hodgkin's disease.


Description of Gallium Scan of Bone

Nuclear medicine scan using gallium-67 citrate to localize inflammatory lesions of the bone, bone marrow, and cartilage. Although the bones normally absorb the gallium-67 citrate, abnormal areas of inflammation or tumors appear as areas of increased uptake of the radiopharmaceutical.


Professional Considerations of Gallium Scan of Bone

Consent form IS required.

Allergic reaction to the radiopharmaceutical (itching, hives, rash, tight feeling in the throat, shortness of breath, bronchospasm, anaphylaxis, death), infection.
Previous allergic reaction to the same radiopharmaceutical. This test is usually contraindicated during pregnancy and breast-feeding.



  1. Inject the client with a gallium-67 citrate radiopharmaceutical intravenously 48–72 hours before the test. Exception: For the detection of acute inflammatory lesions, scan at 6–24 hours and then again at 48–72 hours.
  2. If the pelvis is to be scanned, the bladder should be emptied completely just before the procedure.
  3. See Client and Family Teaching.
  4. Just before beginning the procedure, take a “time out” to verify the correct client, procedure, and site.



  1. The client is positioned under the gamma (Anger) camera or a scintillation camera.
  2. Serial images are obtained anteriorly and posteriorly while an uptake probe and detector head measure the radiation emissions.
  3. The client must lie motionless throughout the scan.


Postprocedure Care

  1. See Client and Family Teaching.


Client and Family Teaching

  1. Increase oral intake of fluids, where not contraindicated, beginning 24 hours before the scan.
  2. The scan takes 30–60 minutes and is painless.
  3. The camera will make clicking noises during the scan.
  4. It is important to lie motionless during the scan.
  5. Drink 6–8 glasses of water and other fluids each day for 2 days after the test (unless contraindicated).
  6. Results are normally available 24 hours after the completion of the scan.


Factors That Affect Results

  1. Lesions <1–2 cm in size will not be detectable with a gallium scan.
  2. False-positive results may be obtained in the presence of leukopenia.


Other Data

  1. Gallium is excreted by the kidney and colon in 24–48 hours.
  2. This test does not distinguish between benign and malignant lesions.
  3. Health care professionals working in a nuclear medicine area must follow federal standards set by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. These standards include precautions for handling the radioactive material and monitoring of potential radiation exposure.