Bone Scan

A Nuclear Medicine Bone Scan is a diagnostic test used to identify injuries, abnormalities, or the early stages of infection / disease. The scan involves the use of a small amount of radioactive medication (‘radiopharmaceutical’) which attaches to the bone and special gamma ray cameras to take images of how your bones are working.


  • Patients should wear loose comfortable clothes (no zippers, buttons, jewellery or metallic accessories).
  • Patients should arrive 10-15 minutes early to complete paperwork
  • Patients must bring their request/referral form on the day (or check that their request/referral is at the practice)
  • Notify Lakes Radiology team of any allergies, existing medications and if there is a chance you could be pregnant
  • Patients should inform the receptionist when booking the procedure if you are breast feeding as alternate arrangements may need to be made (ie you may need to stop breast feeding for a short time).
  • Patients should continue to take prescribed medications before and after the test
  • Patients should ensure they remain well hydrated following the procedure to eliminate the radiopharmaceutical product from your body via urine


  • Prior to the test a medical practitioner / technician will discuss with the patient the reason for the examination, explain the procedure and answer any questions the patient may have
  • The patient will be invited to the Nuclear Medicine room
  • An intravenous cannula will be inserted into the patient’s arm to allow the radiopharmaceutical to be injected to the body
  • The patient will lie down on a bed or seated in a chair
  • The patient will be directed to perform different movements or positions during the test
  • Initial images will be taken after the injection, this is known as “early blood flow”
  • Further delayed images will be taken 2-4 hours after the injection to allow the radiopharmaceutical time to absorb into the bone for imaging
  • Patients should drink plenty of fluid and urinate frequently following the injection
  • After the procedure the radiologist will check the images to ensure optimal diagnostic study has been performed
  • The patient should contact the referring doctor for the result

Risks or Side Effects

  • There are minimal risks in having a Nuclear Medicine Scan on your bones.
  • During the examination you will be exposed to an amount of radiation comparable with that received during a diagnostic x-ray, which is kept within safe limits.
  • The radiopharmaceutical used for a Bone Scan is not known to cause any side effects or adverse interaction with food or medication.
  • Aside from being thirsty and needing to urinate, you will feel no adverse effect from the injection of radiopharmaceutical and normal activities can be maintained between the early and delayed image sets.

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