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Bone scan

A bone scan helps us to identify abnormalities of the bones such as breaks or some bone cancers. We will give you an injection containing a small amount of radioactivity which acts like a tracer. After some time the tracer collects in the bones and then we are able to take pictures of the bones on a scanner called a gamma camera.

Bone scan normal

Is there any preparation for my bone scan?

No preparation is needed. Please continue to eat and drink normally and continue to take your usual medication. After your injection we will ask you to drink more fluids than normal to help improve the quality of your images.

The scan will usually be performed 2 ½ to 3 hours after the injection. We will give you a time to return for your scan after we have given you the injection.

You must tell us if you know you are (or think that you may be) pregnant, or are breast feeding.

What happens during my bone scan?

For this scan we will give you an injection of a radioactive tracer, into a vein, usually in the arm or hand. It takes a few hours for the tracer to reach your bones and you may leave the hospital between injection time and your scan.

In the time between the injection and the scan we advise you to drink plenty of fluid and empty your bladder regularly. This helps wash out the excess tracer from your body and also makes the images clearer. You may eat as normal during this time.

Just before the scan begins you will be asked to empty your bladder.

We will then ask you to lie on the scan bed. We will make sure you are as comfortable as possible for the scan, as is it extremely important that you remain as still as you can.

You will not be asked to undress, but you will need to remove all metal objects such as chains or belts.

Most scans last about 30 minutes.

Will I feel anything during my test?

The injection feels similar to having blood taken. There are no side effects from the injection. It will not make you feel sleepy or affect your ability to drive.

What happens to the results?

Your results will be sent to the doctor who referred you for the test.

What happens if I cannot keep my appointment?

If you cannot keep your appointment, contact the nuclear medicine department as soon as possible, so that we can offer the appointment to someone else.

If you have any questions about this appointment, or any queries about the examination, please phone 0191 3332218 (Durham) or 01325 743347 (Darlington) between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

'Care received was fantastic and I was very well looked after and very impressed.'

Patient, Day Surgery, Darlington Memorial Hospital