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Nuclear Bone Scan Interpretation and Reporting

Bone imaging continues to be the second greatest-volume nuclear imaging procedure, offering the advantage of total body examination, low cost and high sensitivity. Its power rests in the physiological uptake and pathophysiologic behavior of 99m Technetium diphosphonates.
A nuclear medicine bone scan is a nuclear imaging test that helps diagnose and track several types of bone disease: shows the effects of injury or disease (such as bone cancer or cancer that has metastasized to the bone from a tumor that started in a different organs) or infection on the bones. A nuclear medicine bone scan also shows whether there has been any improvement or deterioration in a bone abnormality after treatment. A bone scan can often find problem days to months earlier than a regular X-ray test.
During a bone scan, a radiopharmaceutical is injected into a vein. This tracer travels through bloodstream and into the bones. Then a gamma camera takes pictures of the tracer in the bones. Areas that absorb little or no amount of tracer appear as dark or "cold" spots and show a lack of blood supply to the bone or certain types of cancer. Areas of fast bone growth or repair absorb more tracer and show up as bright or "hot" spots in the pictures which may point to problems such as arthritis, a tumor, a fracture, or an infection.
There are minimal risks involved in the nuclear medicine bone scan procedure. The scan involves a small dose of radiation from the injected radiopharmaceutical similar to CT.