A  A  A   Print
Diagnostic Procedures for Bone DisordersProcedimientos de Diagnóstico para los Trastornos de los Huesos

Diagnostic Procedures for Bone Disorders

How are bone disorders diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for bone disorders may include the following:

  • Laboratory tests for blood, urine, and other body fluids

  • X-ray. A diagnostic test that uses invisible energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.

  • Computed tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan). A diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce horizontal, or axial, images (often called slices) of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays. A CT scan provides information about bone, muscle, and fat. It is also used to assist the doctor in locating the exact area for a biopsy.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body. MRI scans provide detailed information about soft tissue, the bone marrow cavity, and bone tumors.

  • Bone densitometry. A noninvasive, evaluation procedure that uses X-rays to measure bone mass, or the weight of bone. The amount of bone in the skeleton determines how strong it is. Bone densitometry is often used to measure bone mass in the spine, hips, and arms, as these are the areas most likely to fracture when bone mass is low. Bone densitometry is not used to provide a diagnosis, but is used in combination with other procedures, along with personal and family medical history, to provide information toward or to support a diagnosis.

  • Radionuclide bone scan. Technetium-99, a radioactive material, is used in a radionuclide bone scan. Bone tumors and some other abnormalities absorb the material and a special camera is used to produce an image using a computer. The bone scan is used to pinpoint the location of bone tumors, as well as to detect spread to other bones.

  • Biopsy. A procedure in which tissue samples are removed (with a needle or during surgery) from the body for examination under a microscope; to determine if cancer or other abnormal cells are present. There are two types of biopsy, including the following:

    • Needle biopsy. A needle is inserted into the bone to obtain a tissue biopsy. This type of biopsy can provide a diagnosis without surgical intervention.

    • Open biopsy. A surgical procedure in which an incision is made through the skin to expose the tumor and allow a sample of tissue to be cut or scraped away.

Today's Interactive Tools
Related Items

The third-party content provided in the Health Library of phoebeputney.com is for informational purposes only and is not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. If you or your child has or suspect you may have a health problem, please consult your primary care physician. If you or your child may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 or other emergency health care provider immediately in the United States or the appropriate health agency of your country. For more information regarding site usage, please visit: Privacy Information, Terms of Use or Disclaimer.

Follow us online:

© 2014 Phoebe Putney Health System  |  417 Third Avenue, Albany, Georgia 31701  |  Telephone 877.312.1167

Phoebe Putney Health System is a network of hospitals, family medicine clinics, rehab facilities, auxiliary services, and medical education training facilities. Founded in 1911,
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital (the flagship hospital) is one of Georgia's largest comprehensive regional medical centers. From the beginning, Phoebe's mission and vision
has been to bring the finest medical talent and technology to the citizens of Southwest Georgia, and to serve all citizens of the community regardless of ability to pay.