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Isotope bone scan

Your doctor may request a bone scan for unexplained bone pain, to diagnose arthritis, bone cancers and more.

Surgeon examining an isotope bone scan of a patient's wrist

What is a Bone Scan? 

Your bone is a living tissue. Bones continually remodel themselves to help repair any damage. Bone cells called ‘osteoblasts’ help in this remodelling. An isotope bone scan shows how quickly your ‘osteoblasts’ are working.

What is this scan used for?

Your doctor may request a bone scan for unexplained bone pain. Following is a list of few things that a bone scan can look for:

  • Arthritis
  • Fractures
  • Avascular necrosis
  • Bone Cancers
  • Metastasis
  • Fibrous Dysplasia
  • Infection involving the bone

How can I prepare for this procedure?

  • Please eat normally and hydrate well.
  • Between your injection and scan appointments please drink about one litre (6 cups) of any fluid.
  • Empty your bladder frequently, as this reduces the dose of radiation you receive and improves the quality of the scan.
  • You will not need to undress as long as there are no metal items on your clothing.
  • If there is any chance you could be pregnant or if you are breastfeeding, please inform the Department at least 24 hours before your appointment on 0161 495 7040.

What happens during the procedure?

  • There are two appointment times for this scan.
  • The first appointment lasts for 30 minutes and consists of an injection of the tracer into a vein in your arm or hand, which is like having a blood test. The second appointment, three hours later, lasts for a maximum of 75 minutes and is when the images are acquired.
  • You can leave the hospital and return between the two appointments.
  • You will be lying down for your scan, but you will not be totally enclosed.
  • You will be okay to drive after this scan.

How can I book a bone scan?

A bone scan is something that will be recommended by your Consultant, at which point our team will arrange an appointment for you. 
If you think you may need a bone scan and you aren’t speaking to one of our Consultants yet, book an initial consultation using our online booking portal. If you need a bone scan, they will arrange it for you. 

Paying for your procedure

The costs of a bone scan are covered by most medical insurance policies, but please check with your insurer first. If you are paying for your own treatment the cost of the procedure will be explained and confirmed in writing when you book the operation. Ask the hospital for a quote beforehand, and ensure that this includes the surgeon’s fee, the consultant radiologist’s fee and the hospital charge for your procedure.

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