How To Prepare continued...
You will be asked to drink extra fluids after the tracer is injected. You will empty your bladder right before the scan.
You probably will have to wait 1 to 3 hours after the tracer is injected before your bone scan is done. So you may want to bring something to read or a project to pass the time. For some types of bone scans, pictures are taken during the tracer injection, right afterward, and then 3 to 5 hours after the injection.
You may be asked to sign a consent form.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
How It Is Done
A bone scan is usually done by a nuclear medicine technologist. The scan pictures are usually interpreted by a radiologist or nuclear medicine specialist.
You will need to remove any jewelry that might get in the way of the scan. You may need to take off all or most of your clothes. You will be given a cloth or paper covering to use during the test.
Your arm will be cleaned where the tracer will be injected. A small amount of the tracer is injected.
It takes about 2 to 5 hours for the tracer to bind to your bone so that pictures can be taken with a special camera. During this time, you may be asked to drink 4 to 6 glasses of water so your body can wash out the tracer that does not collect in your bones. Just before the scan begins, you will probably be asked to empty your bladder to prevent any radioactive urine from blocking the view of your pelvic bones during the scan.
You will lie on a table, with a large scanning camera above you. It may move slowly above, below, and around your body, scanning for radiation released by the tracer and producing pictures. The camera does not produce any radiation.
You may be asked to move into different positions. You need to lie very still during each scan to avoid blurring the pictures.
A bone scan takes about 1 hour.