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Patient Instructions -  Bone Scan

A bone scan uses a radioactive substance (or tracer) to examine the bones in your entire body, or a certain area, in detail. The radiation you are exposed to with the injected radioactive substance is about the same as a regular X-ray.

A bone scan is performed to detect abnormalities in the skeletal system such as injuries, tumors and infection. Bone scans can see these abnormalities in early stages when X-ray findings may still be completely normal.

Before your Procedure

  • You should tell your physician if you are pregnant or nursing.

  • No special preparation for this test is needed.

During your Procedure

  • A radioactive substance (or tracer) injected into a vein in your arm. You will not feel any effects from the injection.

  • The radioactive substance travels through the blood and eventually into the bones.

  • You will be scanned 3 hours after the injection.

  • Between injection time and scan time, you may leave the hospital and eat normally unless you are fasting for another test.

  • You will be asked to drink extra fluids and use the restroom as needed during the 3-hour waiting time. This helps clear the tracer from your tissue, allowing the bones to be seen more clearly. The tracer will leave your body during urination. It usually takes 24 hours for all of the tracer to leave the body.

  • When you return from the scan, you will be positioned on a table with a camera above and below you. If your whole body is being scanned, you will be positioned on the scanner table and move through the camera.

  • Length of the scan is 30-45 minutes.

After your Procedure

  • You can resume your normal activities.

  • Your doctor will be contacted with the results of your test and will discuss the results with you.

Providing safe, quality patient care is our highest priority. To help ensure quality and safety, we ask that you do not bring young children with you to your appointments, as children are not allowed to accompany you during Imaging procedures. Staff is unable to monitor your child in your absence.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your provider. 

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