What is the role of bone scanning in the workup of ulnar-sided wrist pain?

Updated: Nov 22, 2019
  • Author: David M Lichtman, MD; Chief Editor: Harris Gellman, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

Radionuclide imaging can be an excellent screening tool for the assessment of skeletal and joint disorders that are not evident on routine physical examination and radiography. This study consists of injecting methylene diphosphate that is labeled with technetium-99m (99mTc), followed by three imaging phases: vascular (angiogram), equilibrium (soft-tissue blood pool), and delayed (bone).

About 95% of bone scan findings are abnormal in the presence of occult fractures and complete intrinsic ligament tears. Increased radionuclide uptake can also be helpful in localizing intraosseous lesions such as avascular necrosis (AVN), osteoid osteoma, and metastasis (rare), among others. In some cases, negative bone scan findings may reinforce a suspicion of malingering.


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