Why do providers order bone scans (also known as bone scintigraphy)for children that are being evaluated for child abuse?
Healthcare providers may order bone scans (also known as bone scinitigraphy) to identify new fractures suspected to have occurred only hours previous to the study but are difficult to identify in certain anatomical locations. A bone scan is not used alone to evaluate the skeleton of a child abuse victim, but is used in conjunction with multiple imaging studies. If occult injuries are suspected, a bone scan may be ordered. Because follow-up skeletal surveys are often used, bone scans are not used as often. Bone scans require relatively longer scanning times then x-ray studies and may not be possible due to the age or extent of injury to the child. It often requires that the child be sedated to obtain good quality studies. Other draw backs include higher radiation exposure then plain x-ray studies and higher cost for testing.