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Date of last update: 10/01/2017.

Forum Name: Bone infections

Question: Can a bone scan detect osteomyelitis?

 trudy508 - Mon Jul 21, 2003 7:32 pm

Can a bone scan detact osteomylitis (streph) in the lower back.I think it's called a Galleon scan?(pardon the spelling).
 Dr. Yasser Mokhtar - Fri Aug 22, 2003 4:13 pm

User avatar Dear Trudy,

Yes, a bone scan can detect osteomyelitis especially if it has been there for a while.

The best way to detect infection of the vertebrae though if an abcess is suspected is an mri of the spine.

Thank you very much for using our website and i hope that this information helped.

Yasser Mokhtar, M.D.
 Dr. A. Saif - Tue Oct 26, 2004 1:29 pm

User avatar Hi Trudy,

If I may add, sometimes the the Gallium scan has difficulty distinguishing between bone infection, degenerative disease, and metastatic disease. All these conditions increase bone turnover, which is what the scan detects. An MRI is certainly an excellent imaging technique for infection, and certainly abscesses of the spine are best detected this way, as doctor Mokhtar says. Another specific (some might say) technique may be the Indium White Cell labelled scan. This takes a few white cells from some of a patients blood and attaches a radioactive marker to it. the white cells are then given back to the patient. As white cells accumulate at infection areas, these may indicate whether the increase in bone turnover is from and infection or something else.



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