• Clinical science

Bone scan


A bone scan (skeletal scintigraphy) is an imaging modality in which an intravenously administered radioactive tracer with an affinity for bone (e.g., Tc99m-methylene biphosphonate) is used to visualize areas of increased metabolic activity within bone with the aid of a gamma camera. Bone scans are used to evaluate bone injuries, musculoskeletal pain, joint conditions, primary bone neoplasms, and malignancies with potential for bone metastases.


A bone scan is used for the detection, evaluation, and/or follow-up of the following conditions:




We list the most important contraindications. The selection is not exhaustive.


  1. Intravenous administration of a radionucleotide tracer with an affinity for bone (e.g., Technetium-99m diphosphonate, Technetium-99m oxidronate)
  2. Uptake of tracer in areas with high bony metabolic activity (“hot spots”)
    • Uptake of the radiotracer by a particular region of the bone is dependent on:
  3. Detection of these “hot spots” with a gamma camera
  4. Renal elimination of the radiopharmaceutical agent with increased uptake in the urinary tract



  • Very high sensitivity for the detection of areas of bone with increased metabolism
  • Low specificity