KUTRRH (Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral & Research Hospital) offers a wide range of nuclear medicine, and diagnostic services, broadly classified as PET/CT and SPECT/CT. One of the SPECT CT services is the scanning of the skeletal system using 99m Technetium methylene diphosphonate (99m Tc MDP). This scan is commonly referred to as a bone scan. It is a highly sensitive method for demonstrating disease in bone, often allowing early diagnosis, or showing more lesions than found in conventional radiological imaging.
This scan has various applications which include the detection of primary bone tumours; the detection of metastases to the bone that occurs in advanced cancer of the breast, prostate, lung cancer, head, and neck cancer etc.
Bone scan is also used for non-oncology indications such as in osteomyelitis, lose or infected joint prosthesis, or other bone injuries.
The patient must inform the doctor if they are pregnant or anticipating being pregnant. In this case, the doctor weighs the benefit versus risks and makes a clinical decision whether the patient should get the scan or not. Breastfeeding mothers are advised to discount breastfeeding and the milk expressed for the next 24 hours discard post-radiopharmaceutical administration.
Before the scan, a patient is injected with a radioactive drug of 99m Technetium as the radioactive component and phosphate analogues such as MDP which distribute and localize in the skeletal system.
After injection with the radiopharmaceutical, the patient is advanced to keep taking a lot of water (at least 1 litre) between the time of injection and time of imaging. The patient is also advised to urinate frequently during the interval between injection and imaging as well as immediately before the scan. They should take a lot of fluids 24 hours after the scan.
During imaging, a SPECT CT camera is used. Various images of the skeletal system are obtained after which a nuclear medicine physician interprets the bone scans and generates a report.