Can a bone scan miss a fracture?

Sometimes. Most fractures can be identified on bone scan 24-48 hrs after incident.If patient is very demineralized the fracture may not be identified unless images are performed beyond 3 hours after injection. In a child if fractue is adjacent to very active growth plate, the fracture may not be appreciated.Fractures in the skull are not usually seen. If fracture is 5 ot 6 months old fracture may be healed.
Bone scan. A recent fracture is identified on all bone scans. The activity on the bone scan may last up to 6 months - 1 year.
Yes. No test is 100% sensitive. The bone scan is very sensitive, but certainly can miss small fractures or be misinterpreted as representing degenerative disease when in fact a fracture is present.

Related Questions

How long does a fracture stay intensely bright on a bone scan? It's been 7 months with sternal fx in 2 areas + still bright. Dr will rescan in 6 month

The bone scan. is absolutely THE MOST SENSITIVE test for Fracture diagnosis and HEALING and stays "bright" for a long time beyond standard xrays and even CT scanning!! THAT i why it is NOT generally used to diagnose or follow bone trauma! Hope this is helpful Dr Z. Read more...

What should be our concerns if NOTHING shows on a bone scan including old fractures.

Not to worry. 'Old' fractures depending on their 'age' frequently will not 'light up' or show any increased uptake on bone scans especially in younger patients. No reason to worry! Read more...
Old fractures. may not show up as an abnormality on a bone scan. So if your bone scan is negative, no worries. Read more...

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

It depends. 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... Read more...
Timing. 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. Read more...
No. 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. Read more...

Why are injections required before doing a bone scan to check for a stress fracture?

Only one. Only one inflection is needed. That is the injection of tc-mdp, the tracer taken up by he bones and detected by the nuclear medicine camera. This tracer shows active bone turnover and is focally "hot" in sites of fracture. Read more...
Blood to skeleton. Bone scan involves intravenous injection of radio tracer 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 activity is seen in metal artifacts, aggressive tumor/infection, & loss of blood supply to bones. Bone scan very sensitive but not specific. Read more...
Radiotracer injectio. A bone scan or bone scintigraphy is obtained few hours after the injection of a radiotracer ( usually 99mtc-mdp). The distribution of this radiotracer in the various bones will be detected by a specific type of camera named gamma camera ( to detect the gamma rays from 99mtechnetium). This is the contrary of a bone x-ray where external radiation source is used. Read more...

What causes you to need to get an injection to do a bone scan to check for a stress fracture?

Radiotracer. A nuclear medicine bone scan is used to evaluate for conditions affecting bones including cancer, fractures, degenerative diseases etc. The radiotracer or radioactive material used is injected through a vein quickly reach your bones where it is deposited. A gamma camera is used to detect the radiotracer and images are created. The radiation is cleared from your body mostly in urine. Read more...
Bone metabolism. Radiotracer technetium 99m mehylene diphosphonate or similar agent is injected intravenously to be transported by blood stream to the bones. Full deposition usually takes 2 to 3 hours. This agent goes where there is increased bone metabolism or repair of bone, such as fractures, tumors, arthritis, and infection. It detects subtle changes, sometimes not noticed on routine imaging. Read more...

Bone scan "increased uptake bilateral SI joints, left greater than right likely due to stresses" Can this mean stress fractures??

This could B a-- -stress fx if of sudden onset, if have had back pain 4 yrs you could have a spondylolysis @ that level. CT images are the best to see a defect as well as determining if stress or developmental. . Read more...

Bone fractures for 14 weeks and not healing. Normal? Bone scan and CT scan done stating serve trauma, which I haven't had. No sign of healing.

Not normal. The fractures may be the result of an abnormality of the bones, ie. Pathologic fractures. Multiple possible causes including hyperparathyroidism, ingestion/overproduction of glucocorticoids, multiple myeloma, leukemia, metastases, osteogenesis imperfecta, mafucci syndrome, etc. These fractures warrant an explanation if they aren't the result of trauma. Read more...
Several causes. 14 weeks is prolonged time for most fracture healing. Delayed fracture healing usually related to wide separation of fracture fragments, underlying neuromuscular insufficiency, underlying metabolic abnormality (rickets, osteomalacia) with deficiency in calcium, phosphorus, or bone matrix.Dysplasia of underlying bone can also prolong healing. Nonunion or pseudarthrosis may result, needing surgery. Read more...