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What is a bone scan?

A bone scan is a test that evaluates the patient's entire skeleton. It is helpful in diagnosing causes of  bone pain due to trauma, exercise, or other reasons.

This exam requires the use of a radiopharmaceutical through an IV catheter.

Prior to the exam:

Your child should not receive radiographic contrast agents 24 hours prior to the bone scan.

Dress your child in comfortable clothing with no metal objects such as zippers or snaps. Remove any jewelry as well.

We have a large variety of video entertainment to choose from, however, your child may also bring along his/her favorite DVD to watch during the exam.

Note: Parents/guardians will be allowed to accompany their child into the exam room.

When you arrive:

You must check in to Imaging Registration, on the first floor of the Benjamin Russell Building 45 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment in order to register.

Once the registration process is completed, a technologist will greet you and escort you to the nuclear medicine examination room. 

During the exam:

A technologist will place an IV in your child’s arm, hand, or foot in order to administer the radiopharmaceutical (tracer) injection needed for this exam. Your child will only feel a little discomfort, like a mild pinch. Once there is proper IV access, the procedure can begin.

The technologist will inject the tracer through the IV line.

Sometimes images are taken as we inject the tracer. Your child will have to lie still on the exam table for approximately 15 minutes, while these images are acquired.

Your child is then allowed to take a break. If images during injection are not required, then your child will be given a break immediately after injection of the tracer. During the break, you and your child may leave the Nuclear Medicine department if you wish. The technologist will tell you what time you need to return to the department for the imaging portion of the test.

It is important to keep your child hydrated during the break. Your child may drink water or juice. The technologist will give you instructions before you leave the department.

The set of delayed images will begin 2 hours after the tracer is given. Your child will have to lie still on the exam table during the imaging portion of the test for approximately 30 minutes to over 1 hour, depending on the history and diagnosis. After viewing the initial images the nuclear medicine physician may determine that additional images are needed.

After the exam:

There are no special instructions for your child to follow upon completion of this procedure.

Test Results:

The images from your child's exam are interpreted by a pediatric radiologist and a report is sent to your physician's office.

If your physician has any questions regarding the report, he/she may call 205-638-9730.

Question or concern about your child’s exam?