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Radionuclide salivary gland imaging

Seminars in Nuclear Medicine
Elsevier - WB Saunders
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s0001-2998(81)80023-2
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Salivary gland imaging with 99mTc as pertechnetate provides functional information concerning trapping and excretion of the parotid and submandibular glands. Anatomic information gained often adds little to clinical evaluation. On the other hand, functional information may detect subclinical involvement, which correlates well with biopsy of the minor labial salivary glands. Salivary gland abnormalities in systemic disease such as sarcoidosis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erythematosus, and other collagenvascular disorders may be detected before they result in the clinical manifestations of Sjögren's syndrome. Such glands, after initially demonstrating increased trapping in the acute phase, tend to have decreased trapping and failure to discharge pertechnetate in response to an appropriate physiologic stimulus. Increased uptake of gallium-67 citrate often accompanies these findings. Inflammatory parotitis can be suspected when increased perfusion is evident on radionuclide angiography with any agent. The ability of the salivary gland image to detect and categorize mass lesions, which result in focal areas of diminished activity such as tumors, cysts, and most other masses, is disappointing, while its ability to detect and categorize Warthin's tumor, which concentrates pertechnetate, is much more valuable, although not specific.

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