A radiotracer is injected into a peripheral vein. As the radiotracer decays, gamma radiation is emitted and is detected by a Gamma camera. When the tracer has collected in the target organ the area is scanned. Radionuclide scans can detect abnormalities such as fractures, bone infections, arthritis, rickets, and tumors that have spread, among other diseases.
Review Date 10/5/2022
Updated by: Thomas S. Metkus, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.