A bone scan is an imaging test that helps a doctor diagnose and hone in on various types of bone diseases. Your doctor may order a bone scan for you if you have pain in your bones that might suggest a bone infection, a bone injury or bone loss. UKS Medical Bone scans are also used to detect cancer that has spread from the bone from a tumor that began in another part of the body such as in the prostate area or in the breast area. Bone scans are also used to seek and detect other abnormalities such as lymphoma and leukemia.
It is important to note that a bone scan involves a nuclear radiology procedure. What this means is that a small amount of radioactive material is used during the procedure that helps when examining the bones.
One of the main reasons in using a bone scan is that a bone scan can seek and find the spread of cancer. Bone scans are also used to look at the cancer before and after treatment and then evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment.
Other reasons why a bone scan may be conducted are: to find out the age of fractures, to look for bone trauma, to find fractures that are hard to find, to evaluate bone pain that can’t be explained and to locate arthritis or benign bone tumours.
There are risks to this procedure; especially if a person is allergic to certain medications, latex or contrast dyes. Of course, if you are pregnant, you should first consult with your doctor before undergoing this procedure.
Before undergoing this procedure, your doctor will explain what to expect and you may have to sign a consent form, giving them permission to give this test to you. There is a certain procedure you will go through for a bone scan. This procedure will be explained to you by your doctor. If you have any questions, be sure to ask them. In addition, a bone scan can be quite useful when diagnosing stress injuries such as with a shin splint or a stress fracture.
Once you come to the nuclear medicine department—which is where the bone scan is given—you will get an injection of radioactive compound. Sometimes the bone scan is given immediately after the radioactive compound. Once you begin the bone scan process, it often takes 30-90 minutes to complete the scan.
There is very little to prepare for with a bone scan. If you are on medication, you can continue to take your medication. If you don’t have any other tests before you take the bone scan, you can have regular meals. Often, you are required to drink a lot of water between the injection time and the scan—where it often is performed several hours later. And, you will be asked to empty your bladder, often.
The bone scan procedure is a very effective and helpful procedure for those looking for answers on cancer and it’s spreading to other organs and is also very effective in finding out where the pain is coming from. This is helpful when deciding a treatment plan.