Investing in Patient Safety

Mayfair • Jan 08, 2020

At Mayfair Diagnostics, we strive to ensure the comfort of our patients. When it comes to our nuclear medicine imaging services, this involves investing in patient safety.

We have five locations which offer nuclear medicine imaging. Over the past several years, Mayfair has updated our equipment to leading-edge technology. Most recently, it has been upgraded at our Mayfair Diagnostics Sunpark clinic.

Located in the Southeast Calgary community of Sundance, Mayfair Diagnostics Sunpark offers bone density, mammography, nuclear medicine imaging, and ultrasound services. The nuclear medicine department performs bone scans, which are the most commonly ordered nuclear medicine imaging exams.

A bone scan can examine the whole body or a specific area of concern using a small amount of radioactive material (called a radiopharmaceutical) injected into a vein. This material travels through your bloodstream into your bones and a gamma camera detects the radiation emitted from your body, which is put together by a computer to create images of the bones.

A bone scan with SPECT/CT combines two imaging types (hybrid imaging), a bone scan and computed tomography (CT) imaging. This type of exam can provide very detailed images that help localize the area of concern.

The new SPECT/CT technology at Sunpark features software which reduces the impact of implanted metal hardware. Depending on the area of concern, high quality images can also potentially be created using a lower dose of radiation.

HOW DOES NUCLEAR MEDICINE IMAGING WORK?

After injection of the radiopharmaceutical, areas which take up little or no amount of the material 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 bone turnover. Bone scans can demonstrate arthritis, tumours, fractures, or 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 foot, and ankle.

A bone scan involves two separate appointments booked on the same day. The first appointment usually take about 15 minutes. During this time, you will receive the injection and lie on your back while the first set of images are obtained.

The second appointment usually take place 2-5 hours after the first. During this appointment, additional imaging will be performed without any additional injections. If required, additional SPECT/CT imaging may be performed towards the end of this appointment. The entire second appointment usually takes about 30-45 minutes.

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 well 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 imaging and the exposure to radiation from this scan is slightly higher than that of standard X-rays however 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 is accredited by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta to perform all medical imaging, including nuclear medicine imaging.

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 an authorized 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 may be scheduled.

These examinations are performed at our Castleridge, Market Mall, Mayfair Place, Riley Park, and Sunpark locations.


REFERENCES

Canadian Cancer Society (2018) “Bone Scan.” www.cancer.ca. Accessed December 18, 2019.

GE Healthcare (2019) “Smart Metal Artifact Reduction.” www.gehealthcare.com. Accessed December 18, 2019.

Healthwise Staff (2017) “Bone Scan.” www.myhealth.alberta.ca. Accessed December 18, 2019.

Soo, G. & Cain, T. (2018) “SPECT-CT Scan.” www.insideradiology.com.au. Accessed December 18, 2019.

The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (2016) “Nuclear Medicine (SPECT) Radiation Dose Guide.” www.thh.nhs.uk. Accessed December 18, 2019.

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