A bone scan is a specialized radiology procedure used to examine the various bones of the skeleton to identify areas of physical and chemical changes in bone. Bone scans are used primarily to detect the spread of metastatic cancer.
For this test, a nurse or technician injects you with radioactive dye and then takes scans of your bones. The picture shows areas of cells where the radiation is concentrated, which can mean that there is an abnormality. It does not necessarily mean there is a tumor. Other things, such as arthritis or bone fractures, can also make a bone scan abnormal. Your doctor may also use this test to find out if a bone tumor has spread to other bones or if a soft tissue tumor has spread to bone.