Scintigraphy: Function of the Salivary Glands



Supervision of a scintigraphy by a nuclear medicine technician (MTRA)

Supervision of a scintigraphy
by a nuclear medicine technician (MTRA)

Scintigram showing function of salivary glands

Scintigram showing function of salivary glands

Nuclear medicine in general

In nuclear medical examinations (scintigraphies) low-level radiolabelled medications (radiotracers) are used in the diagnosis of disease.

The radioactive test substance is injected into an arm vein. It is distributed throughout the body by the blood system, and depending upon its composition, accumulates in the target organ. The radiation produced (gamma rays) has low strength but a wide range. This means it can be visualized outside the body as an image or series of images using a special device (gamma camera).

Most scintigraphies cause an exposure to radiation equal to a person’s natural annual exposure. As all nuclear medical procedures involve such exposure – albeit only slight – to radiation, they can only be carried out when the patient is not pregnant.


Scintigraphy: Function of the salivary glands

Scintigraphy to show the function of the salivary glands allows us to obtain information regarding the functioning capacity of the head’s major salivary glands.




Please bring with you:

  • Where available, existing examination results (imaging, clinical examinations, surgical or hospital discharge reports, lab test results)
  • A towel



Prior to the examination you will be questioned about the medical history of your illness to date and your present symptoms. The doctor will also check whether there is a justifiable indication for the examination, i.e. whether a scintigraphy to test the function of the salivary glands is medically useful and necessary.

The low-level radiolabelled medication (radiotracer) will be injected into an arm vein. The recording of data takes places immediately afterwards.

During the examination you will be lying comfortably – usually on your back – on the examination table. Please follow instructions exactly, as they are very important for the quality of the image.

After approx. 20 minutes, the secretion of saliva is stimulated. This is done by introducing lemon juice into your mouth. After a total of 30 minutes the entire examination will be finished. Usually, you will be able to leave the practice immediately after the examination.

A detailed report with the results of the examination will be sent to the doctor who referred you to us. This will usually reach your doctor within a week; in case of medical necessity, it may also come at short notice on the same or the following day.