This article was written to answer many of the most frequently asked questions on the subject of bone scans. If you have chronic back pain, a bone scan may be one of the scarier tests that you may undergo, but it is actually a fairly safe and relatively painless procedure.
First off, what is a bone scan?
Simply put it’s a study done to show problem spots on the spine. A radioactive chemical, sometimes called a “tracer”, is injected into the bloodstream. The chemical quickly attaches itself to sections of the bones that are actively making new bone. Images are taken of the skeleton, several hours after the shot.
How is a bone scan done?
An intravenous line (IV) goes in your arm or hand. The chemical tracer is injected into the bloodstream through the IV. There is a waiting time of two to three hours, while the chemical attaches itself to any areas of bone that are undergoing quick changes. Generally, you are free to leave and come back after this time.
After that, you will be asked to lie or sit underneath a large “camera” that takes pictures of your skeleton. because the chemical tracer is radioactive, it...