Bone Scan

Download/print the Bone Scan patient information sheet

What is a bone scan?

Bone scans are used to detect arthritis, neoplasm, fractures and sports injuries, tumors and metastatic disease, as well as to evaluate unexplained bone pain.

How should I prepare for my exam?
  • There are no restrictions prior to this exam. You may eat, drink and take all prescribed medications.
  • Wear comfortable clothes without metal fasteners, including zippers, buttons and snaps.
  • Arrive 15 minutes early to complete registration.
  • Bring your insurance card and a valid photo ID.
How long will my exam take?

A bone scan can take up to 4 or 5 hours. This time allows for two sets of images to be taken, with a 2.5 to 4-hour wait between sets.

What happens during my exam?

A small amount of radioactive tracer will be injected into a vein in your arm. Depending on the information your healthcare provider requested, you may have a set of images taken immediately after the tracer is injected. It takes several hours for the tracer to be absorbed by your bones. Therefore, you may leave Suburban Imaging after your injection and return 2 ½ to 4 hours later. (The technologist will give you a specific time to come back to Suburban Imaging.) You will be asked to drink extra liquids during this time.

When you return, you will be positioned on your back and images will be taken for about 30-45 minutes.

What happens after my exam?

Your images will be interpreted by one of our board-certified radiologists. The findings will be sent to your healthcare provider, who will then contact you to discuss the results.

Unless directed otherwise, you can resume your regular activities immediately after this exam.

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