Bone scan

Bone Scan

A bone scan is a type of imaging test that is used to detect and monitor problems with bones. It can help to diagnose bone diseases, injuries, or tumors, and it can help doctors decide the best course of treatment. In this article, we will discuss what a bone scan is, how it is done, its types, risks, and when it is recommended.


A bone scan often requires no preparation, but it is important to inform the doctor of any allergies or any medications being taken. In some cases, a contrast agent may be administered, and this may require special preparations.


The procedure for a bone scan typically involves a patient being injected with a tiny amount of radioactive dye. This dye circulates in the body and is absorbed by the bones. The patient then lies on a table where a gamma camera records images of the bones.


There are several types of bone scans. They include:

  • Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) Scan: This type of scan produces a 3-D image of the bones and allows for greater accuracy in diagnosis.
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan: This type of scan utilizes a different dye that produces a more detailed image of the bones than a traditional bone scan.
  • Dual Photon Emission Computed Tomography (DPECT) Scan: This type of scan utilizes two gamma cameras to produce images of the bones.


A bone scan is generally considered a safe procedure. However, there are some risks associated with the use of a radioactive dye. Those risks include:

  • Exposure to radiation: The dye contains a small amount of radiation, and there is a small risk of radiation exposure.
  • Allergic reaction: An allergic reaction to the dye is possible.
  • Infection: There is a very small risk of infection at the injection site or from the dye.

Why It Is Recommended

A bone scan is usually recommended when a doctor suspects that there may be an issue with a person’s bones. It can also be used to monitor certain conditions over time. Bone scans can help diagnose conditions such as fractures, bone tumors, infection, arthritis, and bone diseases such as osteoporosis.

When It Is Recommended

A bone scan is typically recommended when a person is experiencing pain in the bones, joint swelling, limited range of motion, or weakness. It can also be recommended if there is a suspicion of a fracture, infection, or tumor.