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Bone Scan

Before Your Scan Appointment

Let the technologist know if you:

  • Take any medication

  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding

  • Have had a nuclear medicine scan before

  • Have had a recent barium study or an X-ray using contrast

  • Have any fractures or artificial joints

  • Have any allergies

A bone scan is an imaging test that uses a special camera to form images of your bones. It is used to diagnose bone problems, such as fractures, cancer, or infections, and joint problems such as arthritis. It is also used to check joint replacements.

During Your Scan Appointment

Your bone scan may take up to a half day. Bring something you can do while waiting to have your scan.

Woman lying on table underneath scanner. Health care provider is adjusting scanner.
A large camera takes images of your bones.

When You Arrive

  • You are injected with a tracer (a small amount of radioactive material).

  • Your scan may be done right away or a few hours later. If your scan is done right away, you will have a second scan in a few hours.

During the Scan

  • You will lie on a narrow imaging table.

  • A large camera is placed close to your body.

  • Remain as still as you can while the camera takes the pictures. This will ensure the best images.

  • The table or camera may be adjusted to take more pictures.

After Your Exam

  • Drink plenty of water to help clear the tracer from your body.

  • Your doctor will discuss the test results with you during a follow-up visit or over the phone.

Your next appointment is:________________

Online Medical Reviewer: Dozier, Tennille, RN, BSN, RDMS
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 12/28/2013
© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.