A bone scan lies within the realm of nuclear medicine and is an imaging test that is used in the diagnosis of a variety of bone diseases. Bone scans are usually recommended in cases where the patient experiences bone loss or bone infections, or if there is any bone injury that is not detectable with standard x-rays. This method of testing is also often used when dealing with aggressive cancers that may have affected another organ like the breasts or prostate and could have spread to the bones. Leukemia and lymphoma like abnormalities can also be detected with bone scans.
In a bone scan procedure side effects are negligible and in most cases you may not even experience or notice any side effects. As part of the bone scan procedure a radioactive tracer is first injected into the bloodstream and this should cause almost no sensation. At the most you would experience a mild sting or pinch at the site of the injection. It can be a little difficult to stay still through the scan so request for a pillow or blanket before the procedure commences, so that you can make yourself comfortable. If you do normally experience joint or bone pain then the procedure could be a little uncomfortable. Deep and slow breathing would be the best way to relax and prepare for the scan.
The bone scan procedure side effects would include mainly, only an allergic reaction to the radioactive tracer, but this is extremely rare. The levels of radiation too are however negligible, so there is no need for you to worry about any kind of radiation related illness being contracted. It would be advisable though to flush the toilet promptly whenever you relieve yourself as the tracer will be eliminated through urination or excretion within a day. In the rare event that there is any swelling or soreness at the injection site you could relieve the irritation by applying a moist and warm compress to the area. Although minimal there always remains some risk of cell or tissue damage from exposure to radiation, despite the low levels from radioactive tracers that are employed for this test.
The test could however pose some radiation risks to a developing baby, which is why it is not performed on pregnant or nursing women. If the test must be performed while nursing then it would be necessary to avoid breastfeeding for the next two days and a breast pump should be used to get rid of the milk during those two days.More articles from the Medical Tests Category