Bone scan

What is this test?

It shows in the bone or tissue that are not normal, such as breaks, infection or tumors.

Your appointment

If you make any changes to your insurance before your appointment please call 1-866-309-0832. This will help prevent any delays and the need to reschedule your test, as many radiology services nee a pre-authorization. 

Take Elevator H or I to level 3 Nuclear Medicine Center. It is between elevators H and I. 

Please call Nuclear Medicine at 1-319-356-1911 if you:

  • Have any questions
  • Need to cancel your appointment
  • Cannot do the prep listed below or think you may be pregnant
    • You may not be able to have the test, or it may need to be rescheduled.

Getting ready for your test

Before your test, tell your doctor or nurse if:

  • You are pregnant or think you may be pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding. 


  • You may eat and drink before and during your test.
  • If you have any other test today where you are told not to eat or drink follow those instructions. 


You may take all your normal medications before your test.

What to expect

The test will take four hours.

  1. During the test, we will give you a radioactive medicine into your vein through an intravenous catheter (IV). This medicine will go to your bones. The level of radioactivity is very low and does not have side effects. 
    • Depending on the reason for your test, you may have pictures of your bones taken while the medicine is going into your IV. If you need this, it will take about 30 minutes. 
  2. You can leave Nuclear Medicine for about two and a half to three hours. You will be given a time to come back for your pictures.
  3. You will be asked to drink four to six glasses of fluid during the two and a half to three-hour wait. You may also eat during this time. 
  4. Your pictures are taken by a special machine called a gamma camera. It will take about one hour to take all the pictures that are needed. The camera: 
    • Does not emit any radiation.
    • Will be close to your body while the pictures are taken.
Last reviewed: 
August 2018

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