Childr Health Information

Bone Scan

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Topic: Tests & Procedures

This handout was written to answer some of the questions most often asked about bone scans. Feel free to ask your child’s health care provider to go over any information you do not understand. It is very important for both you and your child to be prepared for the procedure. Being prepared will help you get your child ready for the test and support him/her through it.

What is a bone scan?

A bone scan is a test that takes pictures of your bones. Bone scan pictures can often show more detail than x-rays. It helps in the early diagnosis of infections, tumors and fractures.

What happens during a bone scan?

The staff will ask you some questions about your child’s health history before the bone scan is done. This information will help the x-ray doctor (radiologist) when he or she looks at your child’s pictures. Your child will need an injection (shot) of a radioactive medicine. This medicine is injected into your child’s vein. It travels to the bones to make them show up better on the pictures. It usually takes a few hours for this medicine to get into the bones so your child’s pictures will be done 2-3 hours after the injection. When it is time to take pictures, your child will be on a padded table. The camera will be above and below your child. It will scan the entire length of your child’s body starting at the head and moving slowly toward the feet. The scan can last from 30-90 minutes depending on what your doctor needs. It is safe to be in the room during the scan. The technologist remains in the room to operate the computer. You are welcome to sit at your child’s side during the scan.

What will my child feel during a bone scan?

The shot (injection) your child receives may hurt a little. Your child will be asked to lie on his or her back. The camera does not touch your child or make any noise. He or she will not feel the camera taking pictures. It is very important for your child to be still during the test. We may use blanket wraps and safety belts to help your child be still. We have videos for your child to watch. If your child cannot hold still, he or she may need sedation (“sleepy medicine”) and you will be given more information.

How can I help get my child ready for a bone scan?

When and how to get your child ready for a bone scan depends on his or her age. Most infants and toddlers will need sedation. Any child or adolescent (12 years or older) with special needs may also need sedation. It is important that you follow the sedation instructions given to you. Older children require detailed information about the test ahead of time. Adolescents should be given information far enough ahead to give them time to ask questions. It is important to tell your child what to expect. Most children will be concerned about what they will feel during the test. Many ask if it will hurt. Always be honest with your child. Try not to say it won’t hurt. You can say, “Your test might hurt a little bit, but I will help you get through it.” When you get to the hospital, a staff member will discuss the scan in an age-appropriate way with your child. He or she will talk about any concerns that you or your child may have and if needed help him or her come up with ways to get through the scan. At Dayton Children’s, we take these extra steps to make sure we lower your child’s anxiety and make this experience as comfortable as possible.

How can I help my child during a bone scan?

Many times just being in the room with your child is enough to soothe him or her. Parents are welcome in the room while we explain, discuss and perform the test. Other family members will be asked to wait in our waiting room. If your child has a special toy or blanket that calms them, please bring it with you. Many children can be helped by distraction especially during the injection (shot) of radioactive medicine. Taking deep breaths with your child can help relax the body and relieve anxiety. The staff in nuclear medicine may use toys, bubbles, books or videos to distract your child. Some children need to cry during the injection. Crying is helpful as a way to express emotions.

What happens after the bone scan?

Your child may resume normal activities after the bone scan. A report will be sent to your referring doctor, usually within a week. If your child had a sedative, you will get information on caring for your child after sedation. Be sure you know what to do before you leave the radiology department.

For further questions about this test, please call Dayton Children’s Medical Imaging department: 937-641-3888 or 1-800-228-4055.

PDF: Child Health Information - BONE SCAN

Derechos de autor(c) de The Children's Medical Center, ano 1999. Este material unicamente tiene fines educativos. No puede ser reproducido, distribuido ni modificado sin previa autorizacion de The Children's Medical Center of Dayton, One Children's Plaza, Dayton, Ohio, 45404-1815. Llame al 937-641-3666 para solicitar autorizacion o para obtener un juego maestro para copias. Para obtener mas informacion puede visitar (consulte la seccion de informacion legal).

La informacion contenida en este material es unicamente informacion de tipo general. No debe considerarse como completa. Para obtener mas informacion acerca de los complementos para leche materna, por favor pidala a su doctor.
Preparado: 2007
Revisado: 2010

The information contained in this handout is for general information only and should not be considered complete. For specific information about bathing your baby, please ask your doctor or nurse practitioner.

Additional information may be located in the Family Resource Center, 2nd floor, near the Outpatient Surgery Center. Hours of the center vary; please contact the Family Resource Center at 937-641-3700.

Copyright(c) The Children's Medical Center of Dayton. This material is for educational purposes only. It cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission from Dayton Children's.
Formulated: 2007
Reviewed: 2010


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