Waiting for Bones

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Nuclear medicine procedures can be time consuming. It can take several hours to days for the radiotracer to accumulate in the area of interest, and imaging may take up to several hours to perform. In some cases, newer equipment can substantially shorten the procedure time. However, nuclear medicine scans are more sensitive for a variety of indications, and the functional information they yield is often unobtainable by other imaging techniques.

Please type your comment or suggestion into the text box below. Note: we are unable to answer specific questions or offer individual medical advice or opinions. Some imaging tests and treatments have special pediatric considerations. Please contact your physician with specific medical questions or for a referral to a radiologist or other physician. To locate a medical imaging or radiation oncology provider in your community, you can search the ACR-accredited facilities database. This website does not provide cost information.


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The costs for specific medical imaging tests, treatments and procedures may vary by geographic region. Web page review process: This Web page is reviewed regularly by a physician with expertise in the medical area presented and is further reviewed by committees from the Radiological Society of North America RSNA and the American College of Radiology ACR , comprising physicians with expertise in several radiologic areas.

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Outside links: For the convenience of our users, RadiologyInfo. Toggle navigation. What is skeletal scintigraphy? What are some common uses of the procedure? How should I prepare? What does the equipment look like?


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  • How does the procedure work? How is the procedure performed? What will I experience during and after the procedure?

    Who interprets the results and how do I get them? What are the benefits vs. What are the limitations of bone scans? Which test, procedure or treatment is best for me? What is skeletal scintigraphy bone scan? Physicians order skeletal scintigraphy to: find bone cancer or determine whether cancer from another area of the body, such as the breast, lung or prostate gland, has spread to the bones.

    Follow-up evaluation may then be done with a computed tomography CT or magnetic resonance imaging MRI scan. You will be asked to wear a gown during the exam.


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    • You will receive specific instructions based on the type of scan you are undergoing. A computer helps create the images from the data obtained by the gamma camera. A nuclear medicine technologist will perform the skeletal scintigraphy procedure. Benefits Nuclear medicine examinations provide unique information—including details on the function and anatomy of body structures—that is often unattainable using other imaging procedures.

      Nuclear medicine scans provide the most useful diagnostic or treatment information for many diseases. A nuclear medicine scan is less expensive and may yield more precise information than exploratory surgery. Bone scan helps physicians evaluate the condition of your bones and detect fractures and other abnormalities that may be missed in a Bone Radiography or X-ray exam. Bone scan can provide early detection of primary cancer and cancer that has spread to the bones from other parts of the body.

      Bone scan can detect osteomyelitis , an infection of the bone or bone marrow.

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      Waiting for Bones

      Bone scan helps monitor the effects of treatment on bone abnormalities. The procedure is free from acute or long-term side effects, and except in cases of very young patients, sedation is seldom necessary.

      Bones & Booth waiting or you

      Risks Allergic reactions to radiotracers are extremely rare and usually mild. Always tell the nuclear medicine personnel of any allergies you may have or other problems that may have occurred during a previous nuclear medicine exam. Injection of the radiotracer may cause slight pain and redness. This should rapidly resolve. There is always a slight risk of damage to cells or tissue from being exposed to any radiation, including the low level of radiation of the radiotracer used in this test.

      The procedure can expose a developing fetus to radiation, and the radiotracer can be transmitted to the baby through breast milk. After their GP requested a DXA scan some people received an appointment within a couple of weeks while others waited for months. But Gloria waited a year for her second DXA scan after diagnosis and was anxious to know if the medication was working.

      She wrote to the Health Minister about it. Altogether it takes about two twenty minutes and then I waited about a fortnight to get the results at the doctor. But then as I was getting ready for work one day on the news it said that the that the minister of health had announced that the waiting lists had all gone down and nobody should wait more than three months. Well I ended up getting a letter from the minister of health, the local health authority, the local hospital everybody wrote and apologised and my appointment came through immediately. And then the next appointment when I went when I had the next scan in December , it came through in about a fortnight so and but the hospital had changed.

      And it was a new machine, a brand, spanking new machine, yeah, but the same the same procedure but just a new sort of more modern machine. A DXA scan is generally used to decide if a person needs medication. Many people felt that regular scanning gave them an accurate assessment of the strength of their bones and reliably monitored their treatment.

      Many were eager to know whether the medication had produced the expected improvement, had made no difference or, worse, if their bones had got thinner. Knowing that the bone density had improved made people confident about their treatment. And how many bone density scans have you had?

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      I have got a few. Every three years since , since I think or 19… yeah. What are they revealing sort of in term of your…? They have gone down. Very bad. And last I had only last year. One, the last one I had last year and I think since then my doctor has put me on Protelos. How does the doctor explain to you your density scan results? But the radiographer in the hospital, she said that actually they should take my, every two years or even a year, so that they can keep an eye. If it is not, they, they can do something about it. But radiographer told me that they must, put me through the consultant, so that they, they can do something about it quicker.