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Bone Marrow Study


  • You have been referred for a Bone Marrow Study in which imaging is usually done in conjunction with a Bone Scan and White Cell Scan.

  • A Bone Marrow Study is useful in determining whether a prosthetic joint is infected or loose.

  • It allows us to visualise active, healthy bone marrow activity as opposed to bone remodelling and healing from the prosthesis.

  • It is used to differentiate between active bone marrow, active white cells and repairing bone tissue.

  • The test involves a small injection of  “tracer” (like having a blood test) then waiting for 20 minutes before having images.

  • The tracer we use is called 99mTc-Calcium Phytate (Colloid). There are rarely any side effects with this injection.

  • Images are done of the area where you are experiencing pain using a Gamma Camera (1). This takes 15-20 minutes to complete and is painless.

  • After your Bone Marrow images are completed, you will be advised as to what will happen with the other tests (Bone Scan White Cell Scan) associated with your diagnosis.

  • You receive a slight radiation dose by having a Bone Marrow Study ~ up to 0.8 times your yearly background radiation (2).


Patient Preparation:

  • If you are pregnant, trying to fall pregnant or breast feeding, you must inform our staff.

  • If you have had prior imaging e.g. PET, Nuclear Scan, CT, MRI, X-Ray, Ultrasound, etc... please bring these with you.

  • Please also bring your referral and any blood results that you may have had done.

  • There is no preparation for a Bone Marrow Study i.e. eat and drink as normal.

  • If you are on any medications, please take these as normal.

  • Wear comfortable clothing and minimise the amount of metal jewellery you have on (all metal objects will need to be removed prior to imaging).

  • Important Note: You cannot have this test if you have had a PET or Nuclear Scan within 24 hours prior to this test. If you have had Iodine-131 therapy, allow 4-weeks before having this test. Please ring to discuss booking options.​


Breast-Feeding Mothers: Once you have been given the tracer, you need to stop breast-feeding for 8-hours. During this time, you need to express and discard your breast milk as often as required. You will need to bottle-feed your child during this period.


(1) A Gamma Camera is a device that detects gamma-rays (gamma-rays are very similar to x-rays) and does not emit any radiation.

(2) We all receive a yearly background radiation dose ~ 2.4mSv. Bone Marrow Study ~ 2.0mSv = 0.8 times yearly background dose.

value. quality care. convenience.

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