This is an X-ray investigation will take place in your local hospital X-ray Department of Department of Nuclear Medicine. The scan will show if infection, tumours or abnormal bone growth has affected the bones. The amount of radiation received is equivalent to that of a normal X-ray, which is the same as a couple of days of naturally occurring environmental radiation. If you believe you may be pregnant you should inform the staff prior to the commencement of the investigation.
You will have been sent any special instructions regarding any medication you may be taking, if you need to stop taking them, but usually you will be able to eat and drink normally prior to the scan.
- You will be taken into a private room and then made comfortable a radiologist will explain the bone scan process to you.
- You will be given an injection into a vein usually your arm it can be inhaled or swallowed for other investigations, of a radioactive isotope (a material which emits gamma radiation)
- You will then be able to leave the department for a period of time this can vary between 2- 4 hours –during this time the injected fluid accumulates in the cells affected, drinking fluids helps with this process. Your radiographer will tell you how long you will need to wait.
- The radioactive isotope does not have any side effects so you are able to drive yourself to and from the investigation.
- On your return to the department it is a good idea to empty your bladder prior to the rest of the procedure
- You will not necessarily have to remove your clothes if they do not have any metal fastenings.
- You will be made comfortable in a chair or on a table
- The gamma scan will begin the process of recording images and can take anything from 20-60 minutes.
- After the procedure you will be encouraged to drink lots of fluids to flush the isotope out of your body
The procedure is not painful but it may be a little uncomfortable if you have to lie for a long time in one position.
The results of the scan will be sent to your GP or to the consultant who referred you. The results will be discussed with you at your follow up appointment.