Bone scan as a screening tool in children and adolescents with back pain


Bone scan as a screening tool in children and adolescents with back pain


Sanpera I; Beguiristain-Gurpide JL


Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics




Child; Female; Humans; Male; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; adolescent; Preschool; PedPal Lit; infant; retrospective studies; Bone and Bones/radionuclide imaging; Back Pain/etiology/radionuclide imaging; Bone Neoplasms/complications/epidemiology/radionuclide imaging; Radiopharmaceuticals/diagnostic use; Spondylolysis/complications/epidemiology/radionuclide imaging; Technetium/diagnostic use


Retrospective review of 142 patients from 2 teaching hospitals, investigated for persistent backache. The inclusion criteria were to be up to 18 years, to have no known associated diseases, and to have had a bone scan as a part of their work up. Other tests were also used to reach the final diagnosis. The utility of the bone scan to detect underlying pathology was assessed. On the whole, 75 patients were found to have pathology while only 52 children had a positive bone scan. We also looked for associated findings that could indicate the presence of pathology. The age of the patients, the duration of symptoms, and the presence of night pain seemed to be irrelevant on predicting underlying pathology. The sensitivity of the bone scan was low, 0.613 (95% CI: 0.549-0.654), although it proved to be highly specific, 0.91 (95% CI: 0.83-0.95). A careful analysis of the data and the different diagnosis suggests that Technetium bone scan still holds a place in the study of these patients; however, there is a big concern by the fact that some primary malignancies went undetected on the scan.


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Journal Article


Sanpera I; Beguiristain-Gurpide JL, “Bone scan as a screening tool in children and adolescents with back pain,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed December 3, 2023,