A bone scan involves imaging the skeleton by a scanning camera after I.V. injection of a radioactive tracer compound. The tracer of choice, radioactive technetium diphosphonate, collects in bone tissue in increased concentrations at sites of abnormal metabolism. When scanned, these sites appear as "hot spots" that are often detectable months before an X-ray can reveal any lesion. To promote early detection of lesions, this test may be performed with a gallium scan.
Bone mineral tracer, 3-ml syringe, 21G needle, 70% alcohol or povidoneiodine solution, sterile sponge, tourniquet, scanning camera
Procedure and posttest care
The tracer concentrates in bone tissue at sites of new bone formation or increased metabolism. The epiphyses of growing bone are normal sites of high concentration, or hot spots.
Although a bone scan demonstrates hot spots that identify sites of bone formation, it doesn't distinguish between normal and abnormal bone formation. But scan results can identify all types of bone malignancy, infection, fracture, and other disorders, if viewed in light of the patient's medical and surgical history, X-rays, and other laboratory tests.
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