A member asked:

Is it odd that a nuclear bone scan would not detect 2 rib fractures?

3 doctors weighed in across 3 answers
Dr. Brian Sabb answered

Specializes in Sports Medicine

Bone scan is very sensitive for acute and subacute fractures. However, after a fracture is completely healed, often time years after the injury, bone scan will usually be negative. Best regards and good health...

Answered Jul 29, 2013



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Dr. Gerald Mandell answered

Specializes in Nuclear Medicine

Bone scan is very sensitive for nondisplaced rib fractures. Age of fracture may determine sensitivity. Early 24-48 hrs after incident fx may not be positive. Increased uptake on bone scan depends on bone repair and metabolism. Fractures can be positive on bone scan for about 6 months or more following fx depending on degree of fx displacement. Completely healed fxs are not visible.

Answered Dec 9, 2013


Dr. Raymond Taillefer answered

Specializes in Nuclear Medicine

Bone scan is a very sensitive way to detect recent bone fractures. However many factors will affect this ability to detect them such as the time interval between the fracture and the scan, the age of the patient, and the location of the fractures. In a young patient, bone metabolism can return to a normal status very quickly. Spect study ( tomography) is also very helpful to detect some lesions.

Answered Oct 22, 2014



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