bone scan

This is a diagnostic test which falls in the category of "nuclear medicine." A bone scan is performed by first injecting a very, very tiny amount of a radioactively labeled substance into the bloodstream. This substance is chosen because it will be concentrated and "localize" in specific areas of the body, areas we are trying to locate. After a sufficient time has passed for the substance to be concentrated in the areas of interest, a very sensitive geiger counter type device is passed stepwise over the body in a systematic fashion and counts are made at each point. The resultant composite picture is printed on xray film.

This test would most often be performed to locate areas of tumor activity or infection. Similar types of scans are also performed to evaluate organ function, as with scans for lung or kidney flow (perfusion scan) or thyroid scans. The amount of radiation involved in any of these scans is truly so miniscule that parents should not worry about it at all.

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