Nuclear Medicine scans

Valuable information of skeletal or bony problems can often be obtained with the use of nuclear medicine bone scans. A bone scan involves the injection of a minute amount of radioactive chemical into the blood stream. This is similar to a normal needle. This radioactivity is specially marked so it is taken up by cells in the bone that are active. A number of hours after having the injection, the patient is called back and placed in front of a gamma camera that measures radioactivity and then produces a picture of radioactivity in the body. This does not produce a sharp accurate picture as do radiographs, CAT scans or MRI scans but shows a more dynamic picture of bony activity and turnover. There are a number of conditions that cause increased bony turnover in the body. Your doctor would be the best person able to discuss these conditions with you. Specific white cell labelled scans are thus more complex to perform and will require the radiology laboratory to take a small amount of blood which is then treated with radioactivity before being re-injected. These white cell labelled scans are more specific and active for bony infection and give good indicators in this light.

There is no need to worry about being injected with a small amount of radioactive isotope as this is rapidly broken down and there is no trace within the body within 24 hours. There is no documented side effects to this small amount of radioactivity that is introduced to the body.

Posted in: Patient Tests and Investigations