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Three-Phase Bone Scan

A three-phase bone scan is a medical test that is performed when osteomyelitis is suspected. Osteomyelitis is an inflammation of bone, especially bone marrow, that is caused by a pathogenic organism. Example bone scan images are made immediately, five hours, and 25 hours after tracer injection.

Your Medical Test

The patient will receive an injection of 99m-Technetium-MDP in a vein in the arm. Images are obtained in three phases: immediately after the injection; four hours after the injection; and 24 hours after the injection. Each scan requires about 20 minutes in order to obtain satisfactory images. For each scan, the patient will lie motionless on a bed while the scanner images the bone.

Technetium-99 is a widely-used isotope in Nuclear Medicine. It has a short half-life (6 hours) so that the material soon leaves body tissues. It emits gamma radiation (high energy photons) of appropriate energy for detection by gamma cameras. The technetium is attached to a pharmaceutical agent (MDP) that localizes in bone that is active or inflamed. No allergic reactions are experienced with this test.

How to Prepare for a Three Phase Bone Scan

  • You can eat or drink before the injection and scans.
  • You should continue to take any regularly prescribed medications.
  • You should drink plenty of liquids and should empty your bladder regularly between the injection and the scan.
  • Your should wear comfortable clothes for the procedure. The technologist will need to be able to inject the isotope in a vein at the elbow.

How to Schedule a Three-Phase Bone Scan

Your doctor will schedule the Three-Phase Bone Scan, and then notify you of your appointment time. If you wish to change the appointment, please call Central Scheduling (305.8080) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at your earliest convenience.

If you have any questions about the procedure, please call Nuclear Medicine (305.9070).