What is a Bone Scan exam?
Nuclear Medicine bone scans are used for a wide variety of purposes. Detection of fractures, arthritis, tumors, sports injuries and the source of unexplained pain are the most commonly seen reasons for this test.
What is the Bone Scan procedure and how long will it take?
When you first arrive for your appointment and complete some basic paperwork, you will receive an intravenous injection of a tracer material. This small injection will have absolutely no effect upon you at all – there are no allergic reactions to this material and it will not make you feel any different at all.
In some instances the technologists will perform a quick imaging session while they are injecting, but generally they will simply seat you in a chair and give you the injection while seated. In either case, this injection portion of the exam will be accomplished quickly and easily.
After the injection there will be a two to three hour waiting period. The purpose of this interval is to allow the bones to absorb the injected tracer. Once again, this process will not produce effects of any kind. It is important that you drink plenty of fluids during this time (at least 32 ounces). This will assist the bones in absorbing the tracer, and will help to eliminate unabsorbed tracer from your system. Finally, feel free to leave the clinic during this waiting period; just make certain to return an hour before the return time given to you by the technologist at the time of injection.
When you return to the clinic, you will receive your bone scan. Although there are several different types of bone scans, each takes a total of about 30 minutes to perform. Generally, the exam will consist of the patient laying upon a padded exam table while a rectangular “camera” passes slowly down his or her body. It is quite simple and easy. All that is required of you is that you remain as still as possible during the duration of the exam.
What should I do to prepare?
Drink as many fluids as possible an hour prior to the injection and during the 2-3 hour waiting period prior to the actual exam. There are no eating restrictions of any type.