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A 41-year-old member asked:

What does radiopharmaceutical uptake from a bone scan mean in layman's terms?

2 doctor answers2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Thomas Heston
Family Medicine 29 years experience
Tracer uptake: Read the report. But it sounds like it means that there is increased bone metabolism at that location. The radiopharmaceutical maps calcium activity (osteoblastic) of the bone. Can have increased metabolism in response to mechanical stress, a fracture, cancer, infection, and miscellaneous reasons.
Dr. Gerald Mandell
Nuclear Medicine 52 years experience
Bone metabolism: Bone scan involves intravenous injection of radiotracer usually technetium 99m mdp which accumulates in skeleton. Scan may involve early phase(5-10 min) and late phase(2-3 hr) imaging. Increased uptake is seen in fractures, tumors, infection, etc. Decreased uptake is seen in metal artifacts, aggressive tumor/infection, & loss of blood supply to bones. Bone scan very sensitive but not specific.

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A 43-year-old member asked:

What does strong uptake on a bone scan mean?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Andrew DeGruccio
Orthopedic Surgery 29 years experience
Increased activity: Strong uptake on bone scan means increased metabolic bone activity. This could indicate inflammation, fracture, infection, and/or bone tumor. These results usually are considered in the face of plain x-rays and exam to determine the diagnosis. Sometimes mri/ct scan are also needed.

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Last updated Mar 26, 2020

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