Depending on the tracer and technique used, the scan can identify and image particular types of tumors or certain cancers. Too much tracer in the spleen and bones, compared to the liver, can indicate potential hypertension or cirrhosis. Liver diseases such as hepatitis may also cause an abnormal scan, but are rarely diagnosed from the information revealed by this study alone.
In a bone scan, a high concentration of tracer occurs in areas of increased bone activity. These regions appear brighter and may be referred to as "hot spots." They may indicate healing fractures, tumors, infections, or other processes that trigger new bone formation. Lower concentrations
of tracer may be called "cold spots." Poor blood flow to an area of bone, or bone destruction from a tumor, may produce a cold spot.