This scan allows us to detect areas of abnormal bone formation caused by various conditions in the entire body.

How does it work?

We will give you a small injection containing a small amount of radioactivity, called a “tracer”. After about three hours, the tracer will reach a good concentration in the bones and we will be able to take pictures of the bones using a gamma camera. Abnormalities will show as "hot spots", where the tracer has collected and will show an increase on the scan.

When you arrive, we will give you a small injection of radioactive tracer into a vein, usually in your arm or hand. You will need to wait for around three hours to allow the tracer to reach your bones before doing the scan. During this b,reak you can leave the hospital.

An experienced technologist will perform the scans by making a gamma camera move slowly over you while you lie still on a scanning couch. This usually takes around 20-30 minutes. We may also perform a single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scan during your appointment. This is where a camera rotates slowly around the area we want to look at more closely and allows us to see your bones in 3D. This will take around 30 minutes. You will need to lie still for the whole time during both these scans.

How do I prepare?

There is no special preparation needed for the scan. You can eat and drink as you normally do before the test and continue to take all your usual medication.

In the time between the injection and the scan, you will need to drink plenty of fluid and to empty your bladder regularly. This will help wash out the excess tracer from your body and also makes the images clearer. You can eat normally during this time.

We will ask you to empty your bladder immediately before the scan.

After the procedure

Once the scan has finished the doctor will check the quality of your scan while you wait, and the technologist will then let you go home. The radiation dose from this procedure is very small and there is no need to make any change to your routine.

There are no side effects from the injection; it will not make you feel sleepy or affect your ability to drive.

There are currently no related conditions associated with this test.


Level 3
Chelsea Wing
Sydney Street


Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Tel: 020 7351 8666 / 9
Fax: 020 7351 8668

Department head

Kshama Wechalekar