There are two types of scan commonly used, to look at either inflammatory change in the bones and joints, or the density of the bones themselves.
An isotope scan (Technetium99) will show up "hot spots" of inflammation or tumour within the bony skeleton. It may be used to look for disease in the joints in the spine as well as healing of fractures, or tumours.
This scan is used to check the quality of the bones. Osteoporosis is a common problem, especially in ladies, which may cause some spinal problems and may make others difficult to treat. For example, spinal fusions are less likely to work if a patient has osteoporosis. The commonest type of scanner for this test is a Dexa scanner.