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What Is A Bone Scan, How It Is Done, Why It Is Needed, & Its Risks!

A bone scan is a diagnostic test that uses a small amount of radioactive material to take pictures of your bones. This test can help find problems with your bones, such as cancer, infection, fractures, or arthritis.

The test is also called a skeletal survey or a radionuclide bone scan. You might have this test if you have pain in your bones that can't be explained, or if you have a condition that affects your bones, such as cancer.

Never Confuse It With An X-ray!

A bone scan is different from an X-ray. An X-ray can show problems with your bones such as fractures or development of abnormal bone growth, but it can't show problems that might happen in the future, such as cancer. A bone scan can help find problems early, when they're easier to treat.

How It Is Done?

During a bone scan, you will be asked to lie on a table after which a small amount of radioactive material will be injected into a vein in your arm. This radioactive or contrast material will travel through your bloodstream and get collected in your bones. This process is called radioactive uptake. After the uptake phase, you will have a scan of your bones. This scanning portion of the test is similar to having an x-ray which will usually take about 30 minutes.

Why Is It Needed?

Bones are the hardest and most dense tissue in the human body. They provide support and structure for the rest of the body, and protect vital organs like the brain and heart. But bones are not just solid, unyielding objects. They are alive, and constantly changing. Over the course of our lives, our bones are constantly breaking down and rebuilding themselves. This process is called remodeling, and it is how our bones stay strong and healthy.

Sometimes, though, this process can go awry. Diseases and injuries can interfere with the way our bones remodel, leading to problems like osteoporosis, fractures, and arthritis. That’s where bone scans become important. Bone scans can give doctors a window into the health of our bones, and help them diagnose and treat problems well before they can actually start causing severe symptoms.

Risks Associated With A Bone Scan!

Bone scans are generally considered safe, but there are also some risks associated with this test which you should be aware of before undergoing it. These include:

  • Allergic Reaction To The Contrast Dye - Allergic reactions to the contrast dye are rare, but can occur. If you have a history of allergies, be sure to tell your doctor prior to the procedure.

  • Kidney Damage From The Dye - Kidney damage from the dye is also rare, but can occur in people with pre-existing kidney problems.

  • Exposure To Ionizing Radiation - Exposure to ionizing radiation is the main risk associated with bone scans. However, the amount of radiation exposure from a bone scan is relatively low.

1Health - A Health Center Well Known For Its World-Class Diagnostic, Treatment, & Quality Care Facilities!

Even though a bone scan is considered to be a relatively safe diagnostic test with minimum risks involved, it is always better to consult and work with the highly skilled and trained experts in the healthcare domain to get the maximum benefits of their expertise. As such, if you are contemplating a bone scan, don’t hesitate to contact the highly experienced team of experts at 1Health.


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