Font Size
A
A
A

Bone Scan


A bone scan is a test that identifies new areas of bone growth or breakdown. It can be done to evaluate damage to the bones, detect cancer that has spread (metastasized) to the bones, and monitor conditions that can affect the bones (including infection and trauma).

During a bone scan, a small amount of radioactive substance (radionuclide) is injected into the bloodstream. The substance concentrates in areas where the bone is abnormal. A camera takes pictures of the location of the radioactive substance in the bone. Areas of abnormal bone collect a lot of the radioactive substance and show up as "hot spots" on the picture. A bone scan can often detect a problem days to months earlier than a regular X-ray test.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerMyo Min Han, MD - Nuclear Medicine
Last RevisedSeptember 27, 2010

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

To learn more visit Healthwise.org

© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.





Medical Dictionary