There is no special preparation required prior to having a bone scan. You may eat normally and should drink plenty of fluids before and after the scan. If you are on any prescribed medications, you may continue to take them as usual unless instructed otherwise. You may be asked to remove jewelry or other metal objects, so dress accordingly.
If you cannot keep your scheduled appointment, please call our office at least 24 hours in advance so that we may fill that time slot with another patient.
If you have had previous diagnostic studies (bone scan, x-ray, etc.), please bring those films and reports with you to your appointment, or request your physician send them to the imaging center.
As with most tests, tell your doctor if you are breast feeding, pregnant or think you might be pregnant. Bone scans aren’t usually performed on pregnant women because of concerns about radiation exposure to the fetus.
When you arrive at the imaging center check in at the front desk. One of our technologists will call you back to the imaging area to collect your medical history.
What to Expect
Before your scan, you will receive an intravenous injection containing a small amount of radiopharmaceutical 18F NaF. Then you will be asked to relax for 60 minutes in one of our patient waiting areas. This time is needed for the radiopharmaceutical to distribute naturally throughout your body. During this time you may read a book or magazine and have water to drink.
After the waiting period and before your scan, you will be asked to empty your bladder. This is done so that the images of pelvic and hip bones will show up clearly. The technologist will then position you on the bed of the scanner. You will lie on the bed for your scan, which will take approximately 30 minutes. You will feel the bed move slowly through the PET/CT scanner opening, first taking a CT scan, followed by a PET scan. Our technologist will instruct you and keep you informed during the entire examination. Since movement of the body while the images are being taken may require the scan to be repeated, you should remain as still as possible and breathe normally, unless told otherwise.
Once inside the body, the radiopharmaceutical doesn’t remain active for long. Drinking plenty of fluids will hasten the elimination from your body. You should feel no side effects after the procedure, and no aftercare is necessary.
A trained radiologist or nuclear medicine physician will review and interpret the images. The radiologist looks for evidence of abnormal bone metabolism on the scans. These show up as darker “hot spots” and lighter “cold spots” where the radiopharmaceutical has or hasn’t accumulated. The results of the scan will be reported to your referring physicians, usually within 24 to 48 hours. Please contact your physician to discuss the results.
Patient Guide - Bone Imaging