Bone Scan is used to detect bone diseases such as infection, osteoporosis, fractures, tumors, as well as evaluate unexplained bone pain. Some bone scans can also detect malignancies of the breast, prostate or thyroid and certain types of heart or brain damage.Bone scans enable the nuclear medicine physician to determine the extent of whatever bone diseases might exist. It can assist with indicating whether tumors are benign or malignant or if fractures are present and how old they are.
Is There Any Special Preparation Needed Before the Test?
No special preparation is required before having a bone scan. You will be asked to drink fluids, such as water, during and after the procedure. You can eat and drink before the procedure. If any special preparation is required, your doctor will give you instructions.
How is the Test Performed?
You will receive an injection of a very small amount of radioactive material tracer into a vein in your arm. Adverse reaction to this injection is very rare. This tracer is carried in the blood to the skeletal system where it is distributed throughout the bones. Sometimes, images may be taken to see blood flow to a particular area where you may be having bone pain.
After this, you may leave the nuclear medicine division for about two hours. This time frame ensures that tracer is absorbed by the bones. You should try to urinate as often as possible during this period because it will help to eliminate the tracer from your body that is not going to the bones.
When you return from the waiting period, you will be asked to lie still on an imaging table. Images of your bones will then be obtained by a gamma camera. This camera detects the tracer that is absorbed in your bones. This usually takes between 30 and 60 minutes. This part of the study is lengthy because pictures of your entire body as well as close up images of specific areas are being made.
What Happens After the Test?
When the exam is completed, the nuclear medicine physician will review your images, prepare a written report and discuss the results with your doctor. Your doctor will then explain the test results to you and discuss what further procedures, if any, are needed.
What Other Information Should I Know?
- The amount of radiation you will receive during the test is no more than what you would receive from similar x-ray procedures.
- Be sure to tell your doctor if you are pregnant, think that you are pregnant or are a nursing mother.
- The tracer you are given remains in your body for a short time and is cleared from the body through natural bodily functions. Drinking plenty of fluids will help eliminate the material more quickly.
- You should be able to resume your daily activities after the test.