Friday, 28 April 2017

All About ... Scintigraphy

Scintigraphy (or Nuclear Scintigraphy) is an imaging technique most often used to identify abnormalities of the skeleton.  It uses radioactive tracers to identify any changes in bone metabolism, before they become visible on radiographs (x-rays).  Chesney had this type of scan a few years ago to help diagnose his front limb lameness.

Inflamed or injured tissues (including bone) generally have a greater blood supply than normal.  This means that if injected with a drug the drug will concentrate in the inflamed tissue (although the concentration can vary).  This can be used to identify problem areas.

In Scinitigraphy the horse will be injected intravenously with a mildly radioactive substance, this substance will then collect at any injured areas where it gives off energy in the form of gamma rays.  A special camera is then used to detect these 'hot spots' of gamma rays and produce pictures of the area.  

Horses are usually sedated for the scan because the images take 1-3 minutes and the horse must be completely still during this time.  It is a totally safe procedure but because of the use of radioactive substances there are regulations and procedures which must be followed.  

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Until next time!

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