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A bone scan is used to detect the presence of bone disease, for example, tumours, fractures, infection, arthritis, etc.
Blood circulates through every organ of the body, removing oxygen and nutrients to the organs and transporting waste products away from the organs. When a disease is present, there is usually a change in the blood supply and function of the affected organ. For example, if you break a bone, the body will increase the bony metabolic activity and the blood supply to help heal the break. A bone scan is useful in detecting areas of unusual bone growth or destruction.
The test does not require any preparation.
Prior to the test, you will be asked questions regarding your medical history. Please answer the questions to the best of your knowledge. If you have any questions about the test, ask the technologist. He or she can explain the entire procedure before it begins.
The Technetium-99m MDP radioisotope will be injected into a vein in your arm and is carried by the blood to your bones. You will be asked to drink extra fluids from the time of the injection and void frequently to help clear the radioisotope from your blood by the kidneys.
Pictures will usually be taken immediately after injection. You will have to lie down on a special table and a gamma camera, that can detect radiation, will visualize the radioactive substance in your bones. The camera is positioned close to your body. It can take 20 – 40 minutes to take the pictures and it is important to lie as still as possible during this time to avoid blurring the images.
You may leave the clinic after the first set of pictures has been taken. However, you must return for a second set of pictures. Your return time will be determined by the technologist. The second set of pictures do not require a second injection and will take 1 – 1.5 hours. If you are having three-dimensional pictures taken, then the camera will slowly rotate around your body taking pictures as it moves.
A written report will be sent to your physician upon completion of analysis of the test. Your physician will then explain the test results to you.
The first portion of the test lasts approximately 20 – 40 minutes. You can then leave but you must return at the designated time for the second part, which lasts approximately 1 – 1.5 hours.
The injection of Technetium-99m results in a small amount of radiation exposure to your body that is comparable to naturally occurring sources (food, air, water, the ground and materials).
The radiation you receive is not felt, seen, smelled or tasted, nor does it make you or your clothing radioactive.
The Technetium-99m is eliminated from the body within 3 – 4 days without leaving any trace or effect.
The test is considered to be among the safest diagnostic tests available.
You will be able to drive after the test. Please inform the technologist if you will be traveling by airplane, train or crossing the border within one week after your test.
An adverse reaction to Technetium-99m is extremely rare.
If you are pregnant or there is a possibility of pregnancy, or if you are breastfeeding, this test may be inappropriate for you at this time.