14 August, 2017
What does fact checked mean?
At Healthfully, we strive to deliver objective content that is accurate and up-to-date. Our team periodically reviews articles in order to ensure content quality. The sources cited below consist of evidence from peer-reviewed journals, prominent medical organizations, academic associations, and government data.
The information contained on this site is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a professional health care provider. Please check with the appropriate physician regarding health questions and concerns. Although we strive to deliver accurate and up-to-date information, no guarantee to that effect is made.
What Is the Difference Between a Cat Scan & a Bone Scan?
A doctor might order a type of scan to help diagnose an internal problem. As described by the American College of Radiology and the Radiologic Society of North America, Computerized Axial Tomography, also known as a CAT or CT scan, combines X-rays and computer analysis to generate detailed images of the body. By contrast, a bone scan produces images of a radiotracer administered into the body via a specialized camera.
How They Work
A CAT scan takes multiple, focused X-ray images of the body and sends them to a computer, which assembles them into multiple, cross-sectional images–apparent "slices" of the body.
A bone scan camera detects a small amount of radioactive material injected into the body that collects in abnormal areas of bone.
How Scans Are Performed
For a CAT scan, the patient lies on a platform that slowly moves through a large, often doughnut-like, X-ray machine. Intravenous and/or oral contrast may be administered prior to the exam.
For a bone scan, the patient is injected with a radio tracer and then approximately two hours later lies on a table under a specialized camera for up to an hour.
How Scans Are Used
Doctors use CAT scans to diagnose a wide variety of diseases in all parts of the body. Bone scans, however, are limited to diagnosing diseases specific to the skeletal system, such as infection, fractures, tumors and metastases.
CAT scans subject the patient to more radiation than bone scans. A single CAT scan generally equals a similar amount of background radiation exposure that humans normally acquire over three to five years. Radiation exposure from a bone scan is negligible.
Both CAT and bone scans are interpreted by doctors specialty trained as radiologists.
- moodboard/moodboard/Getty Images