A bone scan is a
test that can find damage to the bones, find
cancer that has spread to the bones, and watch problems such as infection and trauma to the bones. A bone scan can often
find a problem days to months earlier than a regular
During a bone scan, a
radioactive substance called a tracer is injected into a vein
in your arm. The tracer travels through your bloodstream and into your bones. Then a special camera takes pictures of
the tracer in your bones.
Areas that absorb little or no amount of tracer appear as dark or "cold"
spots. This could show a lack of blood supply to the bone or certain types of cancer.
Areas of fast bone growth or
repair absorb more tracer and show up as bright or "hot"
spots in the pictures. Hot spots may point to problems such as arthritis, a tumor, a fracture, or an infection.