What is a bone scan?

Also known as: nuclear bone scan, Bone SPECT scan, triple phase bone scan, skeletal scintigraphy.

A bone scan is usually used to assess pain, fractures, infection, or tumors of bone. A radioactive medicine is injected into a vein and then images are taken with a special camera, called a gamma camera. The camera is able to detect the radioactive substance in the bones.

The whole body is scanned from head to toe and helps to identify problems in many different bones in one scan. Usually, a bone scan is performed in conjunction with an abnormal finding on an X-ray, CT or MRI.

Sometimes as part of the test, a SPECT (single photon emission tomography) image is obtained. The camera spins slowly around a particular area of concern such as the spine or the pelvis, and then 3D images can be obtained.


Reviewed by: Rachel Pevsner Crum, DO

This page was last updated on: 1/29/2019 3:21:13 PM

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