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INTRODUCING NUCLEAR MEDICINE IMAGING AT MAHOGANY VILLAGE

We are pleased to announce the introduction of nuclear medicine imaging services at our Mayfair Diagnostics Mahogany Village location in southeast Calgary, at 230, 3 Mahogany Row SE.

We saw our first nuclear medicine patients on Wednesday, July 6, 2022. We have extended nuclear medicine imaging to Mahogany to make it more convenient for patients in surrounding areas, as well as those being treated at South Health Campus. Having both nuclear medicine imaging and pain management services at this clinic will also be convenient for patients who might require treatment for back pain or other chronic pain.

Mayfair Diagnostics has four other locations that offer nuclear medicine imaging services: Castleridge in the northeast, Market Mall in the northwest, Mayfair Place in the southwest, and Sunpark in the southeast.

Mayfair Diagnostics Mahogany Village is located at the corner of Mahogany Row and Mahogany Plaza, in the two-storey building behind the Sobeys. Please note that the entrance to the clinic is NOT accessible from the street. You must enter from the back parking lot, on the east side of the building, and take the elevator or stairs to the second floor.

The clinic is just 10 minutes from the South Health Campus hospital in Seton, and offers bone density, breast imaging, nuclear medicine imaging, pain management, ultrasound, and X-ray services. The Mahogany nuclear medicine imaging department will be offering bone scans and bone scans with SPECT/CT.

Bone scans can help detect, or further examine, bone and joint problems sooner than other imaging studies. Your doctor may order it to look for a variety of bone problems, such as:

  • Bone metastases (cancer in the bone that has spread from a primary cancer).
  • Fractures and stress fractures.
  • Osteomyelitis (bone infection).
  • Areas of abnormal joint activity in inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Bone scans with SPECT/CT can be used to examine:

  • Chronic back or neck pain, to help pinpoint the precise location of any potential abnormal activity and provide guidance for possible pain management injections.
  • Ankle and foot pain, such as abnormal activity in people who have osteochondral injuries, chronic pain, or have had previous surgeries.
  • Suspected scaphoid (wrist) fractures.

HOW DO BONE SCANS WORK?

Bone scans, also known as bone scintigraphy, can examine the whole body or a specific area of concern.  It is the most commonly ordered nuclear medicine exam and uses a small amount of radioactive material (called a radiopharmaceutical) injected into a vein that travels through your bloodstream into your bones. A gamma camera detects the radiation emitted from your body, which is put together by a computer that creates images of the bones.

Areas that take up little or no amount of the radiopharmaceutical appear as “cold” spots and could show a lack of blood supply to the bone. Areas which take up more radiopharmaceutical show up as “hot” spots, indicating increased blood flow or bone turnover, and could point to problems like arthritis, a tumour, a fracture, or an infection.

Depending on the area of concern, a bone scan can image the entire body or pay particular attention to certain parts. It is useful in surveying areas with many small bones and joints like the spine, feet, and ankles, because it can provide detailed, localized information about bone metabolism. For example, it could be used to pinpoint abnormal areas of activity around facet joints within the spine which may be the source of chronic back pain. The images produced could provide information to guide potential pain management injections.

WHAT HAPPENS DURING A BONE SCAN?

A bone scan involves two separate appointments booked on the same day. The first appointment will take approximately 15 minutes. During this time, the radiopharmaceutical is injected into an arm vein and travels throughout the body. You will be asked to lie on your back on the imaging bed while a gamma camera is placed over your body. The first set of images documents increased or decreased flow to the areas of concern. Afterward, you will be able to go about your normal daily activities until the second appointment (2-4 hours after the first).

During the second appointment, imaging will be performed without any additional injections, to document uptake in the bones. It will take approximately 30-45 minutes. You will be asked to hold as still as possible, while breathing normally – movement can blur the images and make them more difficult to interpret. If required, additional imaging called “SPECT/CT” may also be performed towards the end of this second appointment.

SPECT/CT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography/Computed Tomography) imaging combines two imaging types to help localize the area of abnormal activity that may be present on the planar bone scan image. For the “SPECT” part, the nuclear medicine gamma camera rotates 360 degrees around the body and acquires measurements of the radiation being emitted, which the system reconstructs into a 3D image. For the “CT” portion, a low-dose CT image is taken, similar to those from a classic diagnostic CT scan, but using limited radiation. In this case, they are fused electronically with the SPECT images to get the SPECT/CT image.

IS A BONE SCAN SAFE?

The radiopharmaceutical is excreted from the body through your urine and will decay within the body over the 48 hours following your exam. Keeping hydrated and voiding frequently will help eliminate it from your body.

A bone scan involves a small dose of ionizing radiation from the radiopharmaceutical injected into your vein, and also from the CT scan during the CT portion of SPECT/CT imaging. CT imaging is a form of X-ray and the exposure to radiation from this scan is slightly higher than that of standard X-rays, but the associated risk is still small. Overall, the radiation exposure from a bone scan with SPECT/CT is about the equivalent of exposure to the earth’s natural background radiation over two years. In most cases, the benefits, such as the early detection of a serious illness, outweigh the small increased risk from radiation exposure.

Mayfair Diagnostics complies with policies and has procedures in place for nuclear medicine radiation safety, including a Radiation Safety Officer who ensures we follow all policies and procedures. If you are pregnant, or if there is a chance you are pregnant, we will not perform the exam. If you are breastfeeding, please inform the technologist. The exam will still be performed, but you will be advised to pump and discard breast milk or store it for a specific period of time before using.

HOW DO I GET A BONE SCAN?

This exam is covered under your Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan and must be requested by a health care practitioner. To determine whether it is appropriate for you, your doctor will often review your medical and family history, risk factors, how long symptoms have been present, and how they affect daily activities. If this exam is indicated as a best next course of action, your doctor will provide you with a requisition and the appointment can be booked.

These exams are performed at our Castleridge, Mahogany Village, Market Mall, Mayfair Place, and Sunpark locations.

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