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Preparing for a Bone Scan

The team at Children's Mercy has this information to answer your questions and help you prepare your child for their visit. 

When you arrive at the radiology department, your child will have an IV placed in their arm. A small amount of material that can be seen by the scan will be injected through the IV. The nuclear medicine technologist will take your child’s pictures three hours later. This time allows that material to get into your child’s bones.

The pictures take about one hour with your child lying on their back. They have to lay still and cannot get up during the pictures. During the scan we have a television in the room and a list of DVDs your child may watch, or they can bring their own from home.

Preparation instructions


  • Nothing to eat or drink if anesthesia is needed (nothing to eat or drink 6 hours prior to scan for solids, 2 hours for clear liquids)

  • Less than 6 months: nothing to eat or drink for 4 hours prior to scan

  • 6 months to 6 years: anesthesia may be needed

  • Older than 7 years: the child will usually be non-sedated and can eat and drink like normal

  • Many families have found the additional information provided from valuable as they have prepared for this type of scan 

  • The Image Gently Alliance  may help you understanding types of imaging and what "imaging safely" means to you and your child

Safe, expert imaging for your child

Children's Mercy has been awarded accreditation in all areas of imaging technology by the American College of Radiology. This represents the highest level of image quality and radiation safety.