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Bone Scans

Bone Scans are a Nuclear Imaging technique which can detect and assess bone and joint problems from early on. These include Bone Cancer, Fractures, Osteomyelitis (infection of the bone) and joint conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis.

During your Bone Scan, a small amount of radioactive material, known as a tracer is injected into your body. While the studies do use radiation, the dose is very low and is rapidly excreted from the body.

A special nuclear medicine gamma camera then takes images and looks at where and how your body has absorbed the radioactive material.

How do I prepare?

  • Please ensure you remain well hydrated before and after this scan
  • If you’re pregnant please let the Technician know
  • If you are claustrophobic please let the Technician know.

Technology and Team

Your Bone Scan will be performed by a Nuclear Medicine Technician. The images captured are viewed by a dual trained Nuclear Medicine Physician and Radiologist who make the diagnosis.


What happens during my examination

The Technician will explain exactly what will happen during your procedure. It may vary slightly from what we describe below, so don’t worry.

When you arrive for your appointment a small amount of radioactive tracer will be injected. Over the course of the day this solution will be naturally excreted by your body with no side effects.

During the injection we may take some images, this is dependent on what body part we’re scanning. We will ask you to come back 2-6 hours later for your scan – the Nuclear Medicine Technician will give you the exact time to return on the day. We ask you drink at least 1 litre of fluids (water, tea, coffee – any fluids) and go to the toilet a lot, so the radioactive tracer which isn’t absorbed, gets flushed out.

When we take the images, we use a Gamma Camera. The Gamma Cameras are box-shaped with a bed passing in between. Some times we use a low dose CT that is in the gantry (doughnut) of the Gamma Camera, the low dose CT is very quick and is only 1 minute of the whole scan if needed.

You are able to drive following the examination, but we do ask you limit the time you spend near children and pregnant women for a few hours afterwards.

After your examination

The results of your Bone Scan will be sent directly to your referring Doctor. Please ensure you book a timely follow-up appointment to discuss your results with them.


Bone Scans are Bulk Billed.

Locations providing this service

Cairns Private Hospital

144 Lake Street,
Cairns, QLD, 4870

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