St Vincent's Clinic Medical Imaging & Nuclear Medicine

Bone Scan

Bone scans may be used to locate areas of arthritis, fractures, sports injuries and other bone diseases.

What will happen when you have your Bone Scan

There are 3 parts to a Bone Scan.

  • A small intravenous injection of the ‘bone tracer’ will be injected into a vein in your arm and a scan of the blood flow in the affected part of your body may be taken. This may take approximately 30 minutes.
  • The ‘bone tracer’ takes up to 3 hours to be fully absorbed by your bones. During this time you are free to leave the department but are required to drink plenty of fluid to help move the tracer from your soft tissues. You may go to the toilet as often as you need to.
  • Following this interval of time, the scan of your bones will be taken. This may take 30-60 minutes depending on the area that is to be scanned.

You must inform the Nuclear Medicine Physician or the Nuclear Medicine Technologist if you think you may be pregnant or are breast feeding.

What you need to do and how to prepare for the test

No special preparation is required for a Bone Scan.  You will not be required to undress for the scan. The scan is performed with the Gamma Camera close to your body but you do not go through a ‘tunnel’.

  • You will need a referral from your doctor
  • Bone scans require an appointment
  • Please inform booking staff if you are, or think you could be, pregnant or are breastfeeding
  • At the time of your examination, you may eat and drink normally
  • Please bring any previous relevant X-rays or scans to your appointment
  • You may drive your car following the examination and do not need to be accompanied home
  • You may be in the department for a period of between 3 and 4 hours in total
  • You should not feel sick following the examination
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