Medical Definition of Bone scan

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Bone scan: A nuclear medicine technique for creating images of bones on a computer screen or
on film. A small amount of radioactive material
is injected into a vein and travels through the
bloodstream. It collects in the bones, especially in abnormal areas of the bones, and is detected by an instrument called a scanner. Bone scans are used for the detection and monitoring of disorders that affect the bones, including Paget disease, cancer, infections, and fractures. Bone scanning is also helpful in evaluating and measuring the activity of certain joint diseases.

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Reviewed on 12/4/2018

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