Nuclear bone scan

A nuclear bone scan can detect or monitor illnesses that start in or spread to your bones. Trust your experienced team at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula for skilled imaging services that provide accurate results.

What is a nuclear bone scan?

A bone scan is a type of nuclear medicine procedure, which puts a tiny amount of a radioactive tracer in your body. The tracer travels to your bones, where it gives off gamma rays that a special camera and computer use to create images for your doctors to study.

What to expect

Several hours before your test, you’ll receive an injection of the radiotracer intravenously (through a vein) in your arm. The material will gradually settle into certain areas of your body.

Learn more about what to expect from nuclear imaging.

Bone scan pictures

On your images, areas of the body that absorb:

  • Little of the radiotracer will show up as dark “cold spots,” which could indicate cancer or lack of blood flow
  • Areas that absorb lots of the tracer will show up as “hot spots,” which indicate rapid growth or repair. Hot spots may reveal problems such as arthritis, a fracture, infection, or tumor

Getting test results

If you have an online MyChart account, you’ll likely see your test results in the patient portal within 24 hours. Your doctor will call to explain them and discuss next steps. Wait until you talk to your doctor before trying to understand what they mean.

Talk to your doctor

You’ll need a healthcare provider’s referral to receive radiology and imaging services from Montage Health. Once you have a doctor’s order, call (831) 649-7231 to schedule your test.

Sign up for MyChart

Manage your health easily and securely through our free MyChart patient portal. You can:

  • Access medical records, test results, and test prep instructions
  • Contact your care team
  • Get cost estimates
  • Pay bills

Sign up

Learn more about MyChart

Related locations

Choose an imaging location near you in Monterey County to see its available tests and hours of operation. Some locations offer convenient, extended hours for MRI and ultrasound exams.