A bone scan (or bone scintigraphy) is a procedure in nuclear radiology that is used to examine bones. A radioactive substance known as radionuclide emits gamma rays which a scanner processes to create a picture of the bone. The radionuclide settles on the bone where there may be presence of abnormalities. This area where the radionuclide settles is known as the “hot spot”.
A UKS Medical bone scan is done to detect physical and chemical changes in the bone. The main reason for bone scanning is to detect the spread of metastatic cancer but doctors also recommend it for patients that cannot explain the nature of the disorder they experience. The image from the scan can reveal abnormalities such as fractures, arthritis, paget’s disease of the bone, cancer of the bone, benign bone tumors, osteomyelitis, fibrous dysplasia and avascular necrosis. Even after the diagnosis, scanning is done to monitor the effectiveness and progress of the treatment. Your doctor may need to do the scan for any other reason so just feel free and allow him do his job if you are sure he is qualified.
Doctors who are qualified for bone scanning are called radiologists. Generally, they recommend two bone scan phases on patients. The first phase is the injection phase where the doctor injects tracers into the vein. After the injection, you’ll be required to wait for about two to four hours so that the tracers can circulate and absorb into the bones. Drinking extra water is important to remove radioactive materials that are not absorbed.
The second phase in the treatment is the scan. The scan is not painful and it can take up to one hour if the entire skeleton is involved. Sometimes, doctors take the scan in three phases? before the injection, immediately after the injection and two to four hours after the injection. Another imaging known as Single Photon Emission Computerized Tomography (SPECT) can be included to detect disorders that are situated deep in the bone.
There are certain steps to take in order to prepare well for a bone scan. You may decide to leave your jewelry at home since you will have to remove them before the scan. Pregnant women and nursing mothers are exempted from this procedure because of the risk of exposing their babies to the radiation. Some doctors may not think of doing a pregnancy test before they continue so it’s your responsibility to remind them about it even if you are unsure of your status. Getting prepared for a UKS Medical bone scan does not restrict you from continuing in your usual diet and daily routines.
Bone scan has a lot of advantages and the tracers used remain inactive after two to three days. There are no long-term side effects and the patient can can resume his usual activities after a few days. Always make sure you notify your doctor before approaching a radiologist for a bone scan.