Technetium-99m Oxidronate (Technescan HDP) for Bone Imaging

Table of Contents

The field of diagnostic imaging has witnessed significant advancements over the years, with nuclear medicine playing a pivotal role in the early detection and management of various diseases. Technetium-99m oxidronate, commonly known by its brand name Technescan, is one such radiopharmaceutical that has revolutionised the diagnosis and monitoring of bone pathologies. Its importance in medical diagnostics stems from its ability to provide critical information about bone metabolism, aiding physicians in making informed decisions about patient care.

Chemistry and Mechanism of Action

Technetium-99m (Tc-99m) is a metastable nuclear isomer of technetium-99, which is used extensively in the medical field due to its ideal physical properties. It has a short half-life of approximately 6 hours, which is long enough to perform diagnostic procedures but short enough to minimize radiation exposure to the patient. Additionally, it emits gamma rays with an energy of 140 keV, which is suitable for detection by gamma cameras without causing significant damage to tissues.

Technescan consists of a complex of Tc-99m with oxidronate, which is a diphosphonate compound. Diphosphonates have a high affinity for hydroxyapatite, which is the principal mineral component of bone. When Technescan is administered intravenously, the Tc-99m oxidronate complex circulates through the bloodstream and preferentially localizes in active bone formation or turnover areas. This process is known as bone mineral targeting. The radiopharmaceutical accumulates in more significant amounts in areas with increased osteoblastic activity, which is often a hallmark of bone pathology.

Diagnostic Applications

Technescan is predominantly used for bone scintigraphy, also known as bone scanning. This diagnostic technique is invaluable in the detection of various bone conditions, including:

  • Metastatic Bone Disease: Bone scintigraphy with Technescan can identify the spread of cancer to the bones, which is common in breast, prostate, and lung cancers. It is sensitive in detecting bone metastases earlier than conventional radiography.
  • Fractures: It helps in the diagnosis of occult fractures that are not visible on standard X-rays, such as stress fractures or insufficiency fractures.
  • Infection and Inflammation: Bone infections (osteomyelitis) and inflammatory conditions like Paget’s disease show increased uptake of Tc-99m oxidronate.
  • Arthritis: Technescan can assess the extent of joint disease in conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Avascular Necrosis: It can detect changes in blood supply to the bones, which is critical in diagnosing avascular necrosis.
  • Bone Healing and Repair: The scan can monitor the healing process of bones following surgery or trauma.

Procedure and Safety

The administration of Technescan is a straightforward process. The radiopharmaceutical is injected into a vein, typically in the arm, and the patient is then required to wait for a period — often between 2 to 3 hours — to allow for adequate distribution and localization of the tracer in the bones. The patient lies flat on a table during the scan while a gamma camera captures images of the bones from multiple angles. The procedure is non-invasive and painless, with the exception of the initial injection.

Regarding safety, Technescan is considered to be relatively safe for most patients. The radiation exposure is generally low and comparable to other diagnostic imaging procedures like CT scans. Allergic reactions are rare, and the radiopharmaceutical is rapidly cleared from the body, primarily through the urinary system.

Interpretation of Results

A radiologist or nuclear medicine specialist interprets the results of a bone scan with Technescan. Areas of increased tracer uptake, known as “hot spots,” can indicate a variety of bone conditions, as previously mentioned. Conversely, areas of decreased uptake, or “cold spots,” may suggest a lack of blood flow to the bone tissue. The pattern, distribution, and intensity of the radiotracer uptake are all considered when making a diagnosis.

Advantages and Limitations

One of the primary advantages of using Technescan for bone scintigraphy is its high sensitivity. It can detect abnormalities earlier than many other imaging modalities. Additionally, it allows for whole-body imaging, providing a comprehensive overview of bone health, which is particularly beneficial for the detection of metastatic disease.

However, while Technescan is highly sensitive, it is not very specific. This means that while it can detect abnormalities, it cannot always distinguish between different types of bone disease without correlation with other clinical or imaging data. For example, cancerous lesions and benign bone conditions can appear as hot spots on a scan. Therefore, further testing and correlation with other imaging studies or biopsies are often necessary to establish a definitive diagnosis.


Technescan has become a cornerstone in the field of bone scintigraphy due to its effective utilization of the favourable properties of Tc-99m coupled with the bone-seeking characteristics of oxidronate. Its ability to provide a functional image of the skeletal system makes it a powerful tool in diagnosing, staging, and following various bone-related conditions. Despite its limitations in specificity, when used in conjunction with other diagnostic methods, Technescan significantly enhances the ability to provide comprehensive patient care. As advancements continue in the field of nuclear medicine, the applications of Technescan and similar agents are expected to expand, offering greater insights into bone health and disease management.

You are here: home » technetium-99m oxidronate You are here: home » technetium-99m oxidronate
We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. View more
Cookies settings
Privacy & Cookie policy
Privacy & Cookies policy
Cookie name Active
This privacy and cookies policy sets out how Open Medscience uses and protects any information that you give Open Medscience when you use this website ( Open Medscience is committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected. Should we ask you to provide certain information by which you can be identified when using this website, you can be assured that it will only be used according to this privacy statement. Open Medscience may change this policy from time to time by updating this page. You should check this page from time to time to ensure that you are happy with any changes. This policy is effective from 19 July 2022.

How we use cookies

A cookie is a small file that asks permission to be placed on your computer's hard drive. Once you agree, the file is added and the cookie helps analyse web traffic or lets you know when you visit a particular site. Cookies allow web applications to respond to you as an individual. The web application can tailor its operations to your needs, likes and dislikes by gathering and remembering information about your preferences. We use traffic log cookies to identify which pages are being used. This helps us analyse data about web page traffic and improve our website in order to tailor it to customer needs. We only use this information for statistical analysis purposes and then the data is removed from the system. Overall, cookies help us provide you with a better website, by enabling us to monitor which pages you find useful and which you do not. A cookie in no way gives us access to your computer or any information about you, other than the data you choose to share with us. You can choose to accept or decline cookies. Most web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can usually modify your browser setting to decline cookies if you prefer. This may prevent you from taking full advantage of the website. Our website ( may contain links to other websites of interest. However, once you have used these links to leave our site, you should note that we do not have any control over that other website. Therefore, we cannot be responsible for the protection and privacy of any information which you provide whilst visiting such sites and such sites are not governed by this privacy statement. You should exercise caution and look at the privacy statement applicable to the website in question. You are here: home » technetium-99m oxidronate
Save settings
Cookies settings
Scroll to Top