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Bone Scan?

May 25th, 2006, 04:24 PM
Anyone had one done before? I went to my dr today, and he wants me to have one because I've been on depo for 5 years. And I know the risks.. but had some questions, involving blood, needles, and pain.

He said no to the above.. Cool, no prob. Was reading the back of the sheet, and read how you need to wear clothing with no metal.. hmm. Call the place, they are closed..
Look on the web.. They mention injections, and no metal of any kind. For anyone who doesn't know me, I have a whack load of piercings, so I guess it isn't happening, because a bunch of them aren't removable without a piercer unless it's an emergency.
So I'm minorly put out, and wondering if anyone here has needed one done?

May 25th, 2006, 04:31 PM
Is it a scan for bone density? If so, it's just a flat table you lie on in one of those paper gowns and a scanning 'arm' passes back and forth over your body in the spine and hip areas, where bone density is measured. Takes 5-10 minutes. I don't remember the scanner coming anywhere near my face, so face piercings should be OK. No needles, no pain, no blood.

May 25th, 2006, 05:46 PM
Maybe I wasn't being specific enough when I was looking online.. *the perils of random googling*
Yes, it's for bone density. Between the back of the sheet freakign out over metal, and then lookign online and seeign stuff about injections, and no metal hair berettes and stuff, I was starting to mildly freak. TY Badger.

May 25th, 2006, 06:59 PM
You probably thought it was an MRI machine. They have a powerful magnetic field so any metal inside would spell trouble.

May 25th, 2006, 08:13 PM
I knew of the perils of mri's.. I guess just looking up 'bone scan' was too inspecific.. but the damn form has all this junk on no metal on clothes and such, so it all seems to go together..

I'll call, but I'm cranked out enough now that if there's any prob, my form is going in the reycling..

May 25th, 2006, 09:17 PM
A bone scan is advisable if you are of menopasual age (and I do not know your age <g>) and are at risk of osteoporosis. There are other uses of course but I have to admit that as a heath care professional and someone who is at risk (serious ortgopedic problems as a child that have resulted in chronic pain in laterlife), I opted not to have one since I am quite sure I could single handedly keep the Maritime milk biz going and I have had no indication of osetoporous yet! My orthopedic surgeon and gynecologist keep recommending it but I am not sold on it - people with my "issues" have had so much radiation as children that for me personally, I don't think it's worth it - especially with cancer at the moment.

You need to evaluate your own risk of the disease - your family history, your own lifestyle, how much exercise you get, your nutritional habits, etc.

And no, it is not an MRI - It used to be that I could not have those either due to too much metal in my spine (so had to undergo myelograms - not the most fun and more invasive) but there are newer and better MRI's that will not pull certain metal implants (ie non titanium implants - anything else and don't even think about it,ie ferromagnetic cerebral aneurysm clips, cardiac pacemakers, metal foreign bodies in your eyes and metal cochlear implants or women who are pregnant (especially those in the first trimester) or people with electrical nerve stimulators. One woman was killed after she left a hairpion in during an MRI! The question to ask is what kind of MRI your facility has - they are not all created equal!!! Last year, we had the best one in the country but now another center has a better one, lol (I venture to say it's a vet clinic but it's not). Vet clinics often do have good machines.

There are ongoing studies to ascertain how safe MRI's are in the long term since this is not yet really known.

That said, often a scan can sometimes provide just as much info as an MRI. I just recently talked my dad out of one - he has osteoarthritis and that is not an indication for an MRI. There are also newer inventions coming online that will be even better!! (but also costly!) For some reason, people often think because they read in a newspaper about MRI's that this is what they need.

I have biases as an oncologist since I see so many teenagers who have cancer after having way too many Xrays for no good reason (I am in that group as well but that is all doctors had to work with at that time so it is tough situation). (There are studies that clearly show the correlation between frequent xrays and cancer, sigh!) And those old Xray machines -what we now call medical imaging - had Sooooo much radiation!! Given what I know about cell dvision and the causes of cancer, I will NOT be having any full body scans or unless it is absolutely totally necessary!!! (Not to suggest MRI's and old Xrays have a single thing in common - I just wish we had more long term info. We did not know how Xrays would affect children in the long term either and now we are treating some of the results. I know two people in our own hospitl who worked as radiologists or radiological techs who are now dead of cancer!

I do order MRI's when necessary - as they sometimes are - but with 3D scans and other diagnostic tools, fortunately I do not always need to rely on them. (and it is hassle for young sick children since they need to be sedated, etc, etc). A 3D scan is an excellent diagnostic tool.

But I am offtopic, sigh - sorry!! For many oncologists -who view DEXA's (bone scans) from a different perspective, the jury is still out. But we work from a different perspective than GP's or even gynecologists.

Weigh your options, look at your lifestyle and decide whether for you it is a good idea. If say, you have not been subjected to much radiological work previously, it may be just fine. Depending on your risk factors, you may very well need one and here is a site that may help/ (Don't simply listen to my ravings as an oncologist) - you must have obviously discussed this with your GP:

May 25th, 2006, 09:32 PM
Well, it's good to know about MRI's it always made me paranoid what if I got really sick and couldn't remove all my piercings from lack of tools.. a lot are titanium though..

I had an 'off the record' consult with a good internest accidentally this evening, being someone I know. She told me depo and bone loss shouldn't have the correlation they keep trying to tell me they do.. she said it is all lifestyle.

And added that since it's navel to pelvis scanning, that my navel piercing should be the only potential concern, and if it isn't then I really shouldn't be using them to scan anything.

I'm 23.. the only concern on the table is 5 years of depo use, and the correlation they keep tellign me it has with osteoporosis.

I was told to start taking 1000-1500mgs calcium a day, and if I did have some minor bone issues, they may repair themselves in time, if not it shouldn't get worse.. So I'm not as worried now, just cranky over the lack of info/ too much info/ misinformation..

My dr didn't talk it out with me. Mentioned in passing that I could be loosing bone density, and that it was more research purposes, because a lot of people don't use depo as long term birth control.

The internst I chatted with told me it is all lifestyle. Doesn't run in the family.. I excercise a great deal, I eat well, but my downfall will be lack of calcium. I'm lactose intolerant, and only found what dosage of pills work recently, but am lookign at getting a calcium suppliment into my diet asap

Sadly I've discussed this more on here, and with the internest I talked to than with my GP.. did my pap, took his time, threw the form at me telling me I was probably fine and ushered me out.. wasn't till I got home and really looked at it that I started to freak/ get mad...

So anything anyone has to say, I'd like to hear..

May 25th, 2006, 11:09 PM
Why are you on Depo long term? Do pills/patches/the new "ring" not interest you? Everyone I know that has tried it has had horrible after effects...

May 25th, 2006, 11:50 PM
Already been long term.. 5 years now. After 4 years no period, I have no intrest what so ever of going back to a mess. At this point unless I had some weirdo desire to get preggo with mr invisible, there's no point.

Might have chosen differently if there had been more options back then, but since nothing bad ever happened really, it doesn't bother me, except now hearing variations on bone loss and such.

May 26th, 2006, 12:00 AM
Of all the options out there for birth control, it's the most unsafe from all I have read. If you ever intend on having kids, you might have to plan FAR ahead. When you stop depo, you can be infertile from 6 months to 6 years afterward... Not a pleasant thought...:o

And with combination hormones being so mild now, a lot of women don't stop for the week every month.

The new ring (Nuvaring) is supposed to cater more toward women who will be on bc for the long term. I don't know how great it is yet though, but I was among the first to go on the patch and I don't regret it (yet). Because the patch and ring secrete the hormones through the skin, there are less side-effects. They're worth looking into... :o

I'm just worrying because you're on depo. It's really not a good drug to be on. And I worry about when you come off... People have a hard time with the withdrawal from it... It's scary stuff, IMO.

May 26th, 2006, 12:05 AM
It's scary because the bone loss is irreversible, too. That's what the latest studies show. Taking calcium anything doesn't help if you can't reverse it. :sad:

May 26th, 2006, 12:09 AM
Very minor chance in me ever wanting to birth a kid.
Norplant is still the scariest BC on the market (where they've allowed to still be on the market). I know it might be bad in the long term, but for most of the problems they deal in massive bleedign and infertility. And after 5 years, if I was going to be infertile, I've already messed myself up, and I figure 4 years no blood, I doubt I'll have a bleedign problems now..

Isn't worth it to potentially have a year of massive blood gettign off of it without a really good purpose.. and I just got my shot today anyhow..

Thank you for your concern though, it's really sweet. I just figure by now, not too much more can happen. Most of the reading I've done, the scariest stuff was in the first few years, when no doctor bothered to warn me. My original GP who suggested it never gave me the serious warnings,.. niice.

The thought of inserting anything freaks me out.. patch might have been a consideration, but I'm to the point where I would rather not have any spontaneous bleeding..

May 26th, 2006, 12:13 AM
Internest told me she was skeptical on bone loss and depo. That it was lifestyle, and they have been choosing people with ****** lifestyle choices.

May 26th, 2006, 12:17 AM
What do you mean by "spontaneous"? On the patch, there isn't anything spontaneous about it... I stop Sunday night, and bleed thursday night to monday morning. If I don't stop, I don't bleed.

And if going off that drug has such harsh effects, imagine what it is doing to you being on it...

And it's not over- the longer you are on it, the greater your risk of premature osteoporosis. Along with family history, bone structure, etc, depo is now supposed to be on the list of risk factors for osteoporosis in Canada. It's scary!!

I don't mean to sound like I'm going on and on (even though I know that is exactly what I'm doing), but you have to think of your future. You don't want to cut it short by ignoring the studies...

I guess I'm just anal about the studies too because my grandmother died of ovarian cancer from hormone replacement, and without the HRT, she probably would have lived long past 100 (many of her family members lived past 105). It's serious stuff.

I'm doing fine on the patch, but I'm probably going off it this summer anyway. I just don't want to do this to my body anymore- and the patch isn't nearly as bad as depo. If men don't have to take drugs with BOOKLETS of risks, why should we?

May 26th, 2006, 12:19 AM
Internest told me she was skeptical on bone loss and depo. That it was lifestyle, and they have been choosing people with ****** lifestyle choices.
No way, if a pharmaceutical company can pass off a risk as being due to something else and NOT their drug, they absolutely will. The fact that Pfizer changed their inserts and added serious warnings on their own means that there is something there.

May 26th, 2006, 02:33 AM
I tried depo once and only once - injected it myself but it was for endometriosis. I am not thrilled with any of the chemical birth control meds, not that I think any women is. But of all of them, I agree with Prin re the ring. You want the VERY least amt of estrogen possible.

If you take an oral contraceptive, you need to worry about breast cancer, strokes (esp if you smoke) and a plethora of other issues. Still, there are some on the market now that are low dose and quite effective.

There are conflicting studies about estrogen but the most reliable - and the one that studied nurses over many yrs published by the NE J Med showed those women had a higher rate of cancer.

And Depo-Provera has some nasty side effects that are not worth the risk. (imho), not for birth control anyway. And the consensus amg many gynecologists is that if you do plan a pregnancy, the safety period is anywhere from 1-2 yrs.

I can't honestly give you a medical opinion without knowing your history but if you are only 23,I am not sure you need a DEXA just yet and the studies all conflict re the correlation between depo and bone loss with the latest opinion saying yes but last year it was no. There is strenuous debate about the sampling and how the various studies are carried out so it is not anything I would take to the bank. (personally anyway). The NIH is conducting another study to factor in other variables like economic background, , ethnicity, prior pregnancy, amenorrhea, smoking to name just a few.

If you continue to use it however, you will be at risk for a myriad of things. Surely your doctor has given you a list. It really is not meant for long term use or as a casual contraceptive.

All that said, some days it is frustrating to be a woman. :) There are some much better alternatives on the market incl low does progestin ones.

I cannot believe your doctor did not go over this with you. Is there a sexual health clinic you can go to where you might be able to talk to a nurse otr a counsellor who has more time and can go over your medical history and lifestyle and help you choose the best option for you?

May 27th, 2006, 10:17 AM
I have had 3 bone density tests due to my age. I was told to wear a skirt - actually I have one that has a sort of plastic zipper - but zippers did not cause a problem as I just had to turn skirt around. Was not asked to put on paper gown. I passed all tests.

May 27th, 2006, 12:00 PM
No, a zipper is not a prob with a DEXA - it would be an MRI, due to the electromagnetic field. DEXA is another process altogether.

May 27th, 2006, 01:47 PM
I was told when I called titanium causes no probs, so my navel isn't in the way, most metals block the view, so wearing pants with a zipper down the front, they need you to open them and move them out of the way for the scan, cause the metal blocks the view beneath out, but it's not a metal being yanked from your body problem, so my random googling did nothing but make me cranky.

May 27th, 2006, 05:29 PM
You need to worry about metal being dragged from you only if you are having an MRI which is not what you are having. And usually, for most procedures, you have to put on one of those "fun" hospital robes anyway so your zipper won't be there.

I only plan to have a DEXA if it is ascertained I am especially high risk and hopefully that won't ever be the case. I certainly would not do it at the moment!!! I can only assume you have a significant family history of bone loss or other risk factors. The jury is out on the relationship between depro and bone loss with the NIH (and Health Canada monitoring) still going over the latest studies before making any final outcome is made.

Of greater concern re bone loss is how much calcium you intake, how much exercise you get, your lifestyle, etc. etc. I drink milk evey day and have all my life and eat many foods with Ca so I think I am fine in spite of orthopedic issues. (Non bone loss related but serious in an of themself). I also exercise when I can and drink little or no caffeine of late - tho I did drink too much coca cola for awhile. However, unless you simply drank coke and no milk, it should not be a problem.

Good luck with the test. I can't imagine at your age that you have much bone loss if any. (Unless you have some condition that affects it.) Bone loss tests usually are recommending for women over 40. (and most doctors do not have them themselves and that says more to me. Some GP's and gynecologists order them patients ask for them but since I am pediatrician, no one is actually asking, lol) Granted, there are some rare childhood diseases that can result in bone loss but I have not seen too many.

May 27th, 2006, 06:17 PM
Good luck with the test. I can't imagine at your age that you have much bone loss if any. (Unless you have some condition that affects it.) The "condition" is being on Depo for more than 2 years. That's why she needs the bone scan.

I hope you're going to go for it then. You are, right?:fingerscr