Bone Scan – WR Pediatric Imaging Procedure
What is a bone scan?
A bone scan is a sensitive and non-invasive imaging technique that is used to visualize the bones. It is different from plain X-rays or CT, which can provide exquisite anatomical detail, in that it shows bone metabolism. It can be helpful to evaluate damage to the bones due to exercise or trauma, bone infection or other causes of unexplained bone pain. Bone scanning can detect focal bone cancer and determine the presence of local or distant metastatic lesions.
Why would my doctor request a bone scan?
A Bone Scan can help assess:
- Bone infection (osteomyelitis)
- Back pain
- Occult fracture(s)
- Stress fractures and stress injuries
- Avascular necrosis
- Osteoid osteoma
- Mandibular hypertrophy/hyperplasia
- Certain types of caner
- Mestastases in cancer
- How to prepare for a bone scan
There is no preparation needed for this test. Your child may bring a security blanket/toy with him/her for the procedure. We have various videos or DVDs to choose from for your child to watch during the procedure or you can bring one from home.
How is a bone scan performed?
You will be greeted by one of our technologists who will explain to you and your child what will happen during the examination. A small amount of a radiopharmaceutical called Technetium-99m MDP will be injected into one of your child’s veins. Your child will be free to leave and then return 3 to 4 hours after the injection for the actual imaging. The technologist will give you/your child an exact time to return for imaging. While waiting, you and your child are welcome to leave the area, and can conduct normal activity including eating and drinking. It is important to try to drink extra fluids during the waiting time in order to promote bladder emptying at the time of imaging. After returning for imaging, your child will be asked to void. The number of images obtained and the total imaging time will vary depending on the diagnosis under consideration. It is important that your child remain still during the imaging in order to obtain the best quality images possible. Motion will degrade the images and the test would then need to be repeated.
Will it hurt?
Your child may experience some discomfort associated with the insertion of the intravenous needle. The needle used for the procedure is small. Once the radiopharmaceutical is injected, the needle is withdrawn and a gauze bandage with adhesive tape is placed over the site of the injection. The area where the injection was given may be a little sore. Although the camera may appear large and intimidating, it does not touch your child.
What happens after the study?
Once the study is complete, it will be evaluated for quality. If there was too much motion, the study may need to be repeated. If there was no motion, your child will be free to leave and resume normal activity.
Did You Know?
Wake Radiology Rises Above
✔ All images are read and interpreted by a board certified, subspecialty trained radiologist.
*Most local and regional radiology options have 20% compliance with these standards. Public Policy Polling, 2012.