Bone Scan

Below is a list of some frequently asked questions, but feel free to contact us if you need additional information. We are always pleased to assist you.

Why has my doctor ordered a Bone Scan?

A bone scan is very sensitive and may identify abnormalities in the bones and joints that may not yet be visible on x-rays.

What should I do to prepare for the Bone Scan?

It is important to be well hydrated by drinking several glasses of water or other fluids. No other preparation for the bone scan is needed.

How is the Bone Scan performed?

A radioisotope tracer containing a small amount of radioactive material is injected into a vein through a small needle. In some cases an initial scan will be performed immediately after the injection to determine the blood flow pattern to the part of the body being scanned. Following the injection, it takes 2 to 3 hours for the radioisotope to enter the bones. During this time you should drink several glasses of water or other fluids. After two to three hours, the scan is performed using a gamma camera, which detects the amount and location of the radioisotope in the bones. The scan with the gamma camera takes approximately 30 to 60 minutes.

What are the risks?

An allergic reaction to the injected radiotracer is extraordinarily rare. A small dose of radiation, similar to that obtained from an x-ray study occurs during the bone scan.

What are the alternatives to a Bone Scan?

In certain instances an MRI examination may provide information similar to that obtained from a bone scan.

What can I expect after the procedure?

There are no after-effects from a bone scan. The radioactivity in the body disappears by 48 hours.

Will other tests be ordered?

Based on the results of the bone scan, other tests may be suggested including routine radiographs, and/or a CT, MRI or ultrasound.