What Is a Three Phase Bone Scan?


A bone scan identifies changes in how bone is growing or breaking down. In a three-phase bone scan, bones are scanned three times, several hours apart.

How a Scan is Done

  • For a bone scan, a radioactive material is injected into a vein. A camera slowly scans your body, taking pictures of how much radioactive material collects in your bones.

Why a Bone Scan?

  • A bone scan is done to identify anomalous happenings in bone, such as tumor, infection or fracture.

Three Phase Bone Scan

  • In a three-phase bone scan images are taken immediately after the injection, four hours after the injection, and 24 hours after the injection, according to the University of Tennessee Medical Center.

Why a Three Phase Bone Scan?

  • A three-phase bone scan is done if your doctor suspects you have osteomyelitis, a bone inflammation caused by bacteria or virus.


  • For each scan, you must lie motionless for about 20 minutes.

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  • Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Joe Hall
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