A bone scan is a test that identifies new areas of bone growth or
breakdown. It can be done to evaluate damage to the bones, detect cancer that
has spread (metastasized) to the bones, and monitor conditions that can affect
the bones (including infection and trauma).
During a bone scan, a small amount of radioactive substance
(radionuclide) is injected into the bloodstream. A camera takes pictures of the location of
the radioactive substance in the bone. Areas that absorb little or no amount of tracer appear as dark or "cold" spots. This could show a lack of blood supply to the bone or certain types of cancer. Areas of abnormal bone collect a lot of
the radioactive substance and show up as "hot" spots on the picture. Hot spots may mean problems such as arthritis, a tumor, a fracture, or an infection. A bone
scan can often detect a problem days to months earlier than a regular X-ray
October 1, 2012
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Myo Min Han, MD - Nuclear Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
We are happy to take your appointment request over the phone, or, you may fill out an online request form.
Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.