Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Why should I get a bone scan if my liver enzymes are elevated?"

ZocdocAnswersWhy should I get a bone scan if my liver enzymes are elevated?


I recently went to the doctor for a physical. I'm a 25 year old male. I was a heavy drinker, but have been sober for 9 months. I got normal blood work done, and my liver enzymes were elevated. This caused the doctor to request further blood work. Results: something was high regarding my bones (something related to bone). They said my doctor requested I get a bone scan done. Assuming the doctor is now looking for something more specific, what reasons (following elevated liver enzymes & whatever the bone-related elevated stuff is) would a bone scan be done? What do they detect or what is my Dr. looking for?


Thanks for your question. I recommend that you discuss your concern with your doctor. One common liver enzyme that could lead to the explanation that you are seeking and the sequence of events that you are describing is alk phos, or the lab test for alkaline phosphatase. This is an enzyme that is responsible for many different functions in your body, and can be tested with some of the routine liver tests that your doctor may have ordered. While it can be elevated for a variety of reasons, including liver damage from drinking and other things, it can also be elevated when a person is breaking down their bones faster than normal. For that reason, your doctor decided to get a bone scan to look and see if there are any obvious areas of bony destruction that he or she should pay more attention to. If you are not having any other symptoms or concerns, he or she is most likely being thorough with this test, just to make sure that there is nothing serious that could be causing your problems. As for your past history of drinking, this can also contribute to liver damage, and could be contributing. Your doctor will be able to answer this better based on the information he or she has about you. Please speak with your doctor.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.