A radionuclide bone scan is a diagnostic technique involving the use of small amounts of radioactive material (a radionuclide, which also is called a radioisotope) that are injected into the blood in order to image the bones. The injected radionuclide travels through the bloodstream to the bones.
A special type of camera (a scintillation camera) takes images of the bones. A nuclear medicine physician (a doctor specializing in the use of radioisotopes for the diagnosis and treatment of disease) or a radiologist (a doctor specializing in the use of radiation for the diagnosis of disease) reads and interprets the images.
Areas where the radionuclide has accumulated in the bones may suggest that cancer is present or has spread to the bones.