Bone Scan-Why is it must after 35 years?
Why Bone Scan Is Important?
Last week I was told by my rheumatologist to go for a bone scan and a few days back I got an appointment for the same. I had gone through X-ray to check the condition of my bones since I was feeling pain in my minor joints. But strangely enough all my X-ray said that there was no problem with my bones. Relieved I was but not my doctor who told me to go for a whole body scan. Surprisingly the bone scan images showed each and every joint affected with arthritis. Yes, I was scared thinking what will happen to me in my old age but then I was thankful to the technology which can let you know at the right time that you have a problem in your body. So my this post is about Bone Scan Imaging which can pinpoint the right places in your body which need attention. Read on please.
What is a Bone Scan?
A bone scan is a test that can pinpoint damage to the bones, due to any reason. It is an excellent way to find bone cancer and watch problems such as infection to the bones.It is many times better than X-ray as a bone scan can often find the problem much ahead of a regular X-ray test.
What is Tracer?
Now you know I was called at 8 am to the hospital and a radioactive substance called a tracer was injected into a vein in my arm. The tracer (as the name suggests) is what travels through the bloodstream and into bones and is a safe very small amount of radioactive dye.
Then a special camera takes pictures of the tracer in bones. But is that so easy and quick!!! no, not at all. I was given one injection and then told to wait for four hours, so that the tracer does its work. As when the camera starts taking images the areas that absorb little or no amount of tracer appear clear as dark or “cold” spots. This shows a lack of blood supply to the bone or certain types of cancer.
Areas of fast bone growth or repair, absorb more tracer and show up as bright or “hot” spots in the images. Hot spots may point to problems such as arthritis, a tumor, a fracture, or an infection.
Why is Bone Scan done?
A bone scan is a nuclear medicine technique simply done to:
- Look for bone cancer
- It may be easy to find if cancer from another area, such as the breast, lung, kidney, thyroid gland, or prostate gland, has spread to the bone or not.
- It can help to diagnose the cause or location of unexplained bone pain, such as low back pain.
- A bone scan may be done to help determine the location of an abnormal bone such as the foot or spine.
- A bone scan can also help in diagnosing broken bones, such as a hip fracture or a stress fracture, which are not very clearly seen in X-ray.
- It can find damage to the bones caused by infection or other conditions like arthritis etc.
Is Bone Scan risky?
A bone scan is no more risky than the conventional X-ray. The tracers in the radioactive dye used in a bone scan produce very little radiation exposure and even the risk of reaction to the tracers is very low. Yes, some people may feel a slight discomfort at the injection site but yes lying still during the test can be uncomfortable for some people, though I enjoyed my half an hour nap. Oh! yes one thing that made me uncomfortable was the camera closing in on my face was a bit scary and my doubts about my being mild claustrophobic was confirmed. As the camera came on my face the only thing I could do to avoid the scare was close my eyes shut real hard and thankfully I fell asleep as I was bored to death sitting alone in the hospital waiting room reading that darned ‘Half Girlfriend’ by Chetan Bhagat. Anyways thanks to his stupid story that made me go off to sleep easily. :PSo that was all about my bone scan experience but what would be the results
So that was all about my bone scan experience but what would be the results next day, kept me anxious whole night. When I went to show the reports to the specialist he confirmed that I had arthritis, with Bunion and Plantar fasciitis as well… oh! come on any other bone related problem left????
Now starts a new phase of my life when I have to keep a control over my weight without being very hard on myself through diet and my favourite walks as well as ‘WAH’. This too shall pass…. right?? But here is a word of advice for all the young readers…. Please if you are above 35 and feeling any kind of stiffness in any joint please straightaway go to the doctor and request a bone scan… earlier the better is the right way to handle your arthritis.
So now you know all about bone scan and its importance.
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