Bone scintigraphy

Bone scintigraphy is used to appraise the bone metabolism. A radioactive medicine (radionuclide) is administered intravenously. This accumulates temporarily throughout the entire skeletal system (Tc-99m phosphonate). This enables different skeletal diseases to be distinguished:

  • Rheumatic diseases
  • Degenerative modifications (wear/arthrosis)
  • Bone fractures (e.g. in the case of osteoporosis) or the option of making a statement on a new or old vertebral body fracture. In a large X-ray film this is often not possible unless an acute trauma exists (accident).
  • Tumour diseases (benign bone tumours, malignant bone tumours, metastases)
  • Inflammatory modifications
  • Proof that joint prostheses have or have not become loose
  • Circulatory disorders of the bone (e.g. M. Sudeck)

One advantage of the examination is that the entire skeleton can be appraised (whole-body scintigraphy). There is less exposure to radiation than with an X-ray diagnosis. However, frequently only the combination of the large X-ray films, the skeleton scintigraphy and, if required, magnetic resonance imaging produces the final, exact diagnosis.

In our practice, Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) is also used for the examination when required. This permits more accurate localisation of the pathological bone modification.

Preparatory measures

No mandatory preparatory measures are required.

If possible, you should ingest a large amount of liquid on the day before the examination. It is also important that you also drink at least 1 litre of liquid in the period starting when the radioactive medicine (radionuclide) is administered through to when the skeleton scintigraphy is performed (the radionuclide is egested more quickly, thus reducing the radiation exposure). This measure also enhances the quality and resolution of the images.


Bone scintigraphy

Normal skeleton scintigraphy in the late phase (after c. 3 hours).

Preparatory measures

No mandatory preparatory measures are required.

If possible, you should ingest a large amount of liquid on the day before the examination. It is also important that you also drink at least 1 litre of liquid in the period starting when the radioactive medicine (radionuclide) is administered through to when the skeleton scintigraphy is performed (the radionuclide is egested more quickly, thus reducing the radiation exposure). This measure also enhances the quality and resolution of the images.