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Bone Scan

A bone scan is an imaging test used to help diagnose problems with your bones.
It safely uses a very small amount of a radioactive drug called a radiopharmaceutical. It has also been referred to as a “dye,” but it doesn't stain the tissue.
Specifically, a bone scan is done to reveal problems with bone metabolism.

What is the purpose of a bone scan?

A bone scan is a specialized radiology procedure used to examine the various bones of the skeleton. It is done to identify areas of physical and chemical changes in bone. A bone scan may also be used to follow the progress of treatment of certain conditions.

What is whole body bone scan?

Full Body Bone Scan is a nuclear imaging test that helps diagnose and track several types of bone disease using tiny amounts of radioactive materials called tracers (radionuclides). These tracers accumulate in certain organs and tissues, such as bones.

What is the difference between a bone scan and a CT scan?

A CT scan is a high-resolution X-ray that gives detailed information about organ anatomy.
A bone scan is a nuclear imaging test that aids in the diagnosis and tracking of several bone diseases.
A CT scan uses a combination of X-rays and a computer to create images of the bones.

Can a bone scan show nerve damage?

A Bone Scan may help to detect very fine stress fractures, arthritis, infections, or tumors.

What does cancer look like on a bone scan?

Bone scans also can show how much damage the cancer has caused in the bone. Areas of diseased bone will be seen on the bone scan as dense, gray to black areas, called “hot spots.” These areas suggest cancer is present, but arthritis, infection, or other bone diseases can also cause hot spots.

How long does it take to get the results of a bone scan?

A radiologist will interpret the images of your bone scan, write a report, and deliver the results to your doctor via the internal computer system. This process usually takes less than 24 hours.

Does a bone scan show osteoporosis?

To diagnose osteoporosis and assess your risk of fracture and determine your need for treatment, your doctor will most likely order a bone density scan. This exam is used to measure bone mineral density (BMD). It is most commonly performed using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA or DEXA) or bone densitometry.

Can I eat before a bone scan?

You can eat and drink as you usually would before your scan. You don't have to do anything special to prepare. But certain things can interfere with the tracer, so tell your doctor if you have taken any over-the-counter medicines.

Does a bone scan show inflammation?

Bone scan is one of the most common and oldest examinations among all nuclear medicine procedures. It is used in the evaluation of benign bone disease like infection/inflammation and also is the standard of care for evaluating metastatic disease in the breast, prostate, and lung cancer.

How do I read my bone scan results?

Understanding Bone Density Test Results
A T-score of -1.0 or above is normal bone density.
Examples are 0.9, 0 and -0.9.
A T-score between -1.0 and -2.5 means you have low bone density or osteopenia.
A T-score of -2.5 or below is a diagnosis of osteoporosis.
The lower a person's T-score, the lower the bone density.

What lights up on a bone scan?

Areas of fast bone growth or repair absorb more tracer and show up as bright or "hot" spots in the pictures. Hot spots may point to problems such as arthritis, a tumor, a fracture, or an infection.

What does a bone scan determine?

Bone scan helps physicians evaluate the condition of your bones and detect fractures and other abnormalities that may be missed in a Bone Radiography or X-ray exam. Bone scan can provide early detection of primary cancer and cancer that has spread to the bones from other parts of the body.

Why would a doctor order a full body scan?

Your doctor may order the test if you already have cancer, to see if it has spread. The test may also be helpful in an emergency. Doctors may use the test to help examine a major injury.

Will a bone scan show disc problems?

Bone Scans Are Reliable for the Identification of Lumbar Disk and Facet Pathology.

Can I hold my baby after a bone scan?

Your baby will get a small amount of radiation exposure just by being held by you until the radioactive tracer leaves your body. If possible, do not hold your baby for long periods of time for the first 6 hours after your nuclear medicine test.

Can you drink coffee before a bone scan?

Refrain from consuming any caffeine, including any decaffeinated products before a bone scan.

Will a bone scan show rheumatoid arthritis?

Clinical signs of rheumatoid arthritis may present before they are evident on conventional (routine or special) radiographic views; MRI, CT, ultrasound and radionuclide bone scans are more sensitive for the detection of early signs of rheumatoid arthritis.

How often should you have a bone scan?

If you are taking medication for osteoporosis, expect to have a bone density test every 1 to 2 years.
Even if you don't have osteoporosis, your doctor may suggest that you get a bone density test every 2 years, especially for women during or after menopause.

Is a bone scan the same as a PET scan?

The difference between bone scan and PET/CT for detection of bone metastases may be attributable to the different mechanism.
Bone scan depends on the osteoblastic response to bone destruction by tumor cells,and FDG-PET/CT detects the metabolic activity of the tumor cells.

What do dark spots on a bone scan indicate?

By adhering to these cells, areas of rapid bone repair show up as bright spots and could indicate problems like arthritis, tumors, fractures or infections. Bones that absorb little or no dye appear as dark spots and often indicate a lack of blood supply or certain types of cancer.

Does a bone scan show stress fractures?

A bone scan may be used to see stress fractures that cannot be seen on an X-Ray. During a bone scan, a tracer (a radioactive substance) is injected into your bloodstream. The tracer collects in the bone and settles in the areas where the bone is being repaired.

Why would an urologist order a bone scan?

A bone scan shows up changes or abnormalities in the bones. You might have a bone scan to find out if prostate cancer has spread to the bone. A bone scan is also called a radionucleotide scan, scintigram or nuclear medicine test.

What is the difference between a bone scan and a bone density test?

The denser your bones, the stronger they generally are and the less likely they are to break.
Bone density tests differ from bone scans.
Bone scans require an injection beforehand and are usually used to detect fractures, cancer, infections and other abnormalities in the bone.

What is a 3 phase bone scan?

A three phase bone scan is used to diagnose a fracture when it cannot be seen on an X-Ray. It is also used to diagnose bone infection, bone pain, osteomyelitis, as well as other bone diseases.

What is the difference between a bone scan and an MRI?

An MRI creates 3D images of the bone, whereas a bone scan creates two-dimensional (2D) images.
The MRI provides a detailed view of the bone and its surrounding structures such as the ligaments, tendons and soft tissue.
It diagnoses a bone condition more definitively and accurately than a bone scan.