What is a Three Phase Bone Scan?

A three phase bone scan is used to diagnose a fracture when it cannot be seen on an Xray. It is also used to diagnose bone infection, bone pain, osteomyelitis, as well as other bone diseases.

How should I prepare for this exam?

There are no special requirements prior to coming to your exam. Eating and drinking is allowed, as well as taking any medications your doctor has prescribed. Drinking plenty of liquids is encouraged between the injection and scan.

How long does the test take?

The test is broken up into 2 visits with about 4 hours in between each. The first visit, usually about 20 minutes long, involves an injection of a radioactive isotope into a vein. There are no side effects to this injection. As soon as the injection is given, images are immediately taken by the technologist. After these images, you are able to leave the department until your next scheduled time.

On the second visit you will have another series of pictures taken. This usually takes 30- 60 minutes. All of the images taken are shown to a radiologist before you leave to determine whether or not additional images need to be obtained.

How soon will the scan results be available?

A radiologist will interpret the images, write a report, and deliver the results to your doctor via the internal computer system. This process usually takes less than 24 hours

It is essential to tell your doctor if you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant before undergoing this scan because of radiation exposure.

Reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional.

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