Learn about the Bone Scan and its procedures

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Learn about the Bone Scan and its procedures

A bone scan is an imaging check used to assist diagnose problems together with your bones. It accurately makes use of a totally small amount of a radioactive drug known as a radiopharmaceutical.

It has also been referred to as a “dye,” however it doesn’t stain the tissue.

Especially, a bone scan is accomplished to expose issues with bone metabolism. Bone metabolism refers back to the procedure in which bones destroy down and rebuild themselves. New bone formation is part of the recuperation process while bones are injured or broken. A bone test is a superb way to view and file peculiar metabolic interests within the bones.

At some point in a bone scan,

 A radioactive substance is injected into a vein that is taken up by your bones. You'll then be monitored for several hours.

A totally small quantity of radiation is used within the substance, and almost all of it’s far launched out of your body within two or three days.


Why is a bone scan accomplished?

Your health practitioner might also order a bone scan in the event that they suppose you have got an irritation on your bones. A bone test also can help find the motive of any unexplained bone ache you’re experiencing.
Bone scans can also monitor bone issues associated with the following conditions:

  •  Arthritis
  •  Avascular necrosis
  •  Bone cancers
  •  Cancer that has to unfold to the bone from different components of the frame
  •  Fractures
  •  Infection-related to the bone

How is a bone scan executed?

The system starts off evolving with an injection of a radioactive substance into your vein. The substance is then allowed to work its way by your body for the next 4 hours.

Depending on the motive for the bone scan, your doctor may additionally start imaging at once.

Because the substance spreads through your body, the bone’s cells certainly gravitate to regions that want to be restored. The substance’s radioactive tracers observe those cells and acquire in spots where the bone is broken. It’s taken up in regions that have excessive blood flow.

After enough time has been exceeded, your doctor will use a special digital to scan the bones. The damaged areas — wherein the substance has settled — appear as darkish spots on the picture.

How do you prepare for a bone scan?

A bone test requires no special training. Earlier than the scan, your medical doctor will ask you to take off rings with metallic, including body piercings.

The real screening technique takes about an hour. Your health practitioner might also provide you with a moderate sedative that will help you relax in case you think you’ll have trouble sitting still for that quantity of time.

What outcome will come from the test?

Take a look at results that are taken into consideration ordinary while the radioactive substance is unfolded flippantly at some stage in the frame. This means that you likely don’t have a first-rate bone problem.

Results are taken into consideration strangely while the scan shows darker “hot spots” or lighter “cold spots” inside the bones. Hot spots describe places where an excess of radioactive substance has accrued.

Bloodless spots, on the other hand, are areas in which it didn’t collect in any respect. Abnormal outcomes can indicate that you have a bone ailment, which includes most cancers or arthritis or contamination within the bone.

Following up after a bone test

A bone scan doesn’t motive any aspect outcomes or complications. Maximum of the radioactive tracer is eliminated from your body within 24 hours. Small amounts may additionally continue to be for as long as 3 days.

Bone Scan

Even as the check can assist become aware of troubles in bone metabolism, it doesn’t necessarily screen the motive for them. A bone scan tells that there’s a hassle and where it’s placed. It’s a nonspecific test. You may go through greater tests if the bone scan showed abnormalities. Your doctor will explain your alternatives and assist manual you via the method.
Getting ready up for a bone test.


While you timetable your bone scan, the medical institution or imaging center group of workers will inform you of a way to prepare. Normally, you do not want a lot of unique preparation before a bone scan, however, it’s vital to verify this with the place providing you with the take a look at. If something is doubtful in the commands, speak along with your fitness care team.

Here are some things that you may anticipate:

What to consume?

You can commonly consume and drink typically earlier than your appointment.
Your traditional medicinal drugs. Inform your health care crew about all medicinal drugs you are taking, along with over-the-counter (OTC) capsules and dietary supplements. Your medical doctor may additionally ask you no longer to take them earlier than your test.

Non-public medical history. Inform the workforce if you have any drug allergies or clinical conditions. Girls ought to inform their health care crew if they may be breastfeeding or can be pregnant.
What to put on. Before the check, you’ll need to do away with metallic items, which include rings. You can additionally want to trade into a medical institution gown.

Insurance, charges, and consent. If you are involved in the prices of your bone scan, contact your insurance issuer before your scan.

Some advantages of bone scan:

A bone scan has each advantage :

  • A bone scan will produce snapshots which are a long way much less specified than a positron-emission tomography (pet) scan but can also be some distance much less high priced.
  •  while a bone scan is rather touchy in recognizing lesions and different bone abnormalities, the snapshots are non-specific and may require similar research with the puppy, computed tomography (CT), MRI.

With that being stated, due to the fact a bone test is much less steeply-priced than any of those different tests, it may offer a precious entry factor to research.

Dangers and Contraindications

A bone scan entails the use of a radioactive tracer, maximum normally a substance called technetium-99m, that’s injected into your bloodstream. While this may cause difficulty, the level of emitted radiation is extraordinarily low, a long way less than what you will be uncovered to with a CT test. It also has a distinctly quick drug half of existence (around six hours), which means that it is going to be excreted from your gadget inside one to 2 days.

The gamma scanner itself does now not emit radiation. The most effective side consequences related to the technique are those related to the radioactive tracer.

You should recommend your medical doctor when you have a heart situation or are taking any coronary heart medicinal drugs. This doesn’t preclude you from having the test, however, it does mean that your condition should be monitored all through the process.


A bone scan is a time-taking manner. After the radioactive tracer is added through intravenous (IV) injection, you need to wait four hours to make certain that the chemical has completely circulated in your frame. In the course of the waiting period, you could either live in the health facility or leave and are available to return.

The test itself can take anywhere from half-hour to an hour. In case your medical doctor orders a three-phase bone scan, you may go through a preliminary test for the duration of the IV infusion, a second after the infusion, and a third 3 to four hours later.
Relying on the logistics, you could want to set apart the whole day.


If making a decision to depart at some stage in the ready period, make sure to return no later than 30 minutes earlier than your scheduled scan.

What to wear

You want to undress for the process. At the same time as the workplace could have the area to save your apparel, pockets, and cellular telephone, it’s far satisfactory to depart any earrings or unneeded valuables at home.

Stages bone scan some point in the test

On the day of the take a look at, after validation in and confirming any coverage records, you will be asked to signal a liability form mentioning that you are aware of the motive and dangers of the technique.
Prior to the bone scan, a nurse or technologist will review your medical records, such as your being pregnant popularity and any drugs you’ll be taking.


Earlier than the real test can be done, the radioactive tracer has to be injected. This is finished in a sterile IV room as follows:

  • when you are placed on the inspecting desk, a nurse or technologist inserts a flexible IV catheter right into a vein in your arm or hand. You could revel in fleeting, minor pain as the needle is inserted.
  • The tracer is then injected into the IV, throughout which you can experience a chilly sensation shifting up your arm, however possibly no pain. From begin to complete, the infusion process takes around 10 to fifteen mins.

While the scan of the take a look at

The bone scan is completed around three hours after the injection. When it is time, you’re led to a changing room to put off all of your apparel, earrings, eyewear, and removable dental home equipment. After changing into a hospital robe,

 you may be asked to urinate one last time to put off as a great deal of the remaining tracer out of your frame as viable.

Upon getting into the scanning room, you are positioned at the scanning desk with the aid of the technologist. Thereafter, you need to stay simply nonetheless as a chain of scans is taken from head to foot.

Using a far-off manipulate, the technologist movements the cameras—placed above and underneath the table—up and down your body in tandem at the same time as viewing the photographs on a video monitor. Your role will every so often be altered to acquire a clearer picture.

The technologist will stay in the room the entire time. If you experience any soreness from lying too lengthy, allow the technician to recognize, specifically if you have a pre-existing bone or joint pain.

In case your baby is undergoing the scan, you can want to stay in the room to keep them nonetheless and calm. A few imaging units may have tvs with children’s programming to maintain the kid distracted.

Put up-take a look at

You have to be careful while rising from the scanning desk when you consider that you’ll be lying for your again for a long term. It is satisfactory to prop yourself on your elbows, wait for a second, push yourself right into a seated position, and wait any other second before hopping off the table. That is mainly proper if you have low blood pressure or present returned, leg, or hip pain.
Once your scan is entire, you’ll be requested to attend till the technologist conducts a final review of the photos. If greater images are needed, you will be asked to go back. Don’t allow this to worry you. More frequently than now not, it is definitely due to the fact the image decision wasn’t sharp sufficient or the location of the digital camera wished adjustment. It doesn’t mean that the technologist found something worrisome.


A bone scan is a precious device for analysis, both in terms of its price and sensitivity. While the test has obstacles and is perpetually time-ingesting, headaches are uncommon and you can usually go returned domestic results.
In case your bone scan indicates hot spots, attempt no longer to anticipate the worst. Take into account that, for all of its virtues, a bone scan can most effectively inform you if something is odd; it can not inform you what that abnormality is.

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About author
Hi, I’m Alka Tiwari, healthcare marketer at HealthFinder. I started this blog to help you provide better healthcare information directly from the doctors.
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