Scintigraphy of the Skeleton

Method

 

Supervision of a scintigraphy by a nuclear medicine technician (MTRA)

Supervision of a scintigraphy
by a nuclear medicine technician (MTRA)

Nuclear medicine in general

In nuclear medical examinations (scintigraphies) low-level radiolabelled medications (radiotracers) are used in the diagnosis of disease.

The radioactive test substance is injected into an arm vein. It is distributed throughout the body by the blood system, and depending upon its composition, accumulates in the target organ. The radiation produced (gamma rays) has low strength but a wide range. This means it can be visualized outside the body as an image or series of images using a special device (gamma camera).

Most scintigraphies cause an exposure to radiation equal to a person’s natural annual exposure. As all nuclear medical procedures involve such exposure – albeit only slight – to radiation, they can only be carried out when the patient is not pregnant.

Scintigraphy of the skeleton

Scintigraphy of the skeleton (bone scintigraphy) helps to evaluate the patient’s bone metabolism, which changes in the case of many types of benign or malignant diseases.

 

Preparation

 

Please bring with you:

  • Where available, existing examination results (imaging, clinical examinations, surgical or hospital discharge reports, lab test results)
  • A towel
  • 1 litre to drink – this reduces your exposure to radiation, as the drug will be eliminated from the body quicker; in addition, the image quality of the scintigram is improved

Procedure

 

Prior to the examination you will be questioned about the medical history of your illness to date and your present symptoms. The doctor will also check whether there is a justifiable indication for the examination, i.e. whether a scintigraphy of the skeleton is medically useful and necessary.

The low-level radiolabelled medication (radiotracer) will be injected into an arm vein. Recording of the examination data can only begin when the medication has accumulated in skeletal system. This takes approx. two to three hours. If you wish, you may leave our practice during this period.

During the examination you will be lying comfortably – usually on your back – on the examination table. The recording system (gamma camera) moves slowly along your body, but will not touch you as it does so. Depending on the medical issue to be resolved, recordings are made at different times. Please follow instructions exactly, as they are very important for the quality of the image.

The recording time will be approx. 30 minutes. Usually, you will be able to leave the practice immediately after the examination.

A detailed report with the results of the examination will be sent to the doctor who referred you to us. This will usually reach your doctor within a week; in case of medical necessity, it may also come at short notice on the same or the following day.