In November 2021, Mayfair Diagnostics closed our clinic in Riley Park due to the extent of the construction underway at this location. While its unfortunate that the planned redevelopment work for this area made it necessary to close Riley Park, it did give us the opportunity to upgrade our nuclear medicine imaging equipment at our Mayfair Place clinic.
Over the past several years, Mayfair has updated our nuclear medicine imaging equipment to leading-edge technology that helps ensure the comfort and safety of our patients. We installed upgraded equipment across the clinics that offer nuclear medicine imaging: Castleridge Plaza, Market Mall Professional Building, Mayfair Place, and Sunpark Professional Centre. However, our nuclear medicine imaging department at Mayfair Place operates two machines and only one was recently upgraded.
At the end of January, we were able to retire the older machine at Mayfair Place, and relocate and install the nuclear medicine equipment from our Riley Park clinic. Having two upgraded, consistent units will allow our nuclear medicine imaging department to operate more efficiently and to offer patients more booking options and access to more speciality studies. Both units are GE Discovery NM/CT 670, which combine molecular imaging excellence with advanced SPECT and CT technologies.
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.
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 takes 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.
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 lower dose, non-diagnostic 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 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.
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.
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, and Sunpark locations.
Canadian Cancer Society (2018) “Bone Scan.” www.cancer.ca. Accessed January 26, 2022.
Healthwise Staff (2017) “Bone Scan.” www.myhealth.alberta.ca. Accessed January 26, 2022.
Soo, G. & Cain, T. (2018) “SPECT-CT Scan.” www.insideradiology.com.au. Accessed January 26, 2022.
The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (2016) “Nuclear Medicine (SPECT) Radiation Dose Guide.” www.thh.nhs.uk. Accessed January 26, 2022.