Bone scans detect abnormalities of the insides of bones, such as osteoporosis, stress fractures (breaks) or tumours (growths).


Techniques of bone scanning

Bone density scanning

This type of scan is used to detect and measure osteoporosis (bone thinning). These scans are painless and nothing is injected into the body.

Bone scintigraphy

This type of scan is used to detect otherwise invisible stress fractures. It is also used to look for bone tumours. Small amounts of a radio-active substance is injected into the body and concentrates itself at areas of enhanced bony activity. The scan takes several hours to do.


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Mind the (treatment) gap: a global perspective on current and future strategies for prevention of fragility fractures. Harvey NCW, McCloskey EV, Mitchell PJ, Dawson-Hughes B, Pierroz DD, Reginster, J-Y, Rizzoli R, Cooper C and Kanis JA. Osteoporos Int. 2017 May; 28(5): 1507–1529.

The EANM practice guidelines for bone scintigraphy. Van den Wyngaert T, Strobel K, Kampen, Kuwert T, van der Bruggen W, Mohan HK, Gnanasegaran G, Delgado-Bolton R, Weber WA, Beheshti M, Langsteger W, Giammarile F, Mottaghy FM and Paycha F. Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. WU2016; 43: 1723–1738.

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