Salivary Gland Scan
A salivary gland scan uses a special camera and a tracer (radioactive chemical) to take pictures of the salivary glands. This can help your doctor find the cause of dry mouth (xerostomia) or swelling in the salivary glands.
During a salivary gland scan, the tracer liquid is put into a vein (IV) in your arm. The tracer moves through your blood and into the salivary glands. A special camera takes pictures to show how much tracer stays in the salivary glands.
Why It Is Done
A salivary gland scan is done to:
How To Prepare
Before the salivary gland scan, tell your doctor if you:
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results may mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
How It Is Done
You will need to take off jewelry that may get in the way of the scan.
During a salivary gland scan, you will sit with the camera placed at your neck. A small amount of the tracer is put in your vein (IV).
The camera will scan for radiation released by the tracer. The pictures are taken every few minutes during the scan. You need to stay very still during the scan so the pictures are not blurry.
You may be asked to suck on a lemon after the first pictures are taken. This causes your salivary glands to release more saliva. Then more pictures are taken.
A salivary gland scan takes about 1 hour.
How It Feels
You will not feel pain during the test. You may feel a quick sting or pinch when the IV is put in your arm. The tracer may make you feel warm and flushed.
You may find it hard to lie still during the scan.
There is a slight chance of damage to cells or tissue from radiation, including the low levels of radiation used for this test. But the chance of damage from the X-rays is usually very low compared with the benefits of the test.
Allergic reactions to the tracer are very rare.
In some cases, soreness or swelling may develop at the IV site. Apply a moist, warm compress to your arm to relieve these symptoms.
The results of a salivary gland scan are usually available within 2 days.
What Affects the Test
Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
What To Think About
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
- Early Care for Your Premature Baby
- What to Eat When You Have Cancer
- When to Take More Pain Medication