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Sodium fluoride f-18, diagnostic, per study dose, up to 30 millicuries

HCPCS code

Name of the Procedure:

Sodium Fluoride F-18 PET Scan

  • Common Names: Sodium Fluoride PET Scan, Bone Scan
  • Medical Term: Sodium Fluoride F-18 Diagnostic Imaging


A Sodium Fluoride F-18 PET scan is a diagnostic imaging procedure that helps to visualize bones and detect abnormalities such as fractures, cancers, or other bone conditions. It uses a small amount of radioactive material, sodium fluoride F-18, which is injected into the body and then scanned using a PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scanner.


The sodium fluoride F-18 PET scan is used to:

  • Detect bone abnormalities such as fractures, infections, or tumors.
  • Monitor the spread of cancer to the bones.
  • Evaluate metabolic activity in the bones.
  • Assist in the diagnosis of bone diseases and conditions.


  • Persistent bone pain or discomfort.
  • Suspected bone fractures not visible on regular X-rays.
  • Known or suspected bone cancer.
  • Monitoring the effectiveness of cancer treatment.
  • Detecting bone infections or other bone-related conditions.


  • Patients may be advised to drink plenty of fluids before and after the procedure.
  • Remove all metal objects, such as jewelry.
  • Inform the doctor about all medications and recent medical history.
  • No specific fasting or dietary restrictions required unless specified by the healthcare provider.

Procedure Description

  1. Injection: A small amount of sodium fluoride F-18 is injected intravenously.
  2. Uptake Period: The patient waits for about 30-90 minutes to allow the radioactive material to distribute and accumulate in the bones.
  3. Scanning: The patient lies on a table that moves through the PET scanner, which captures detailed images of the bones.
  4. Completion: The scan typically lasts about 30 minutes, during which the patient must remain still.
  • Equipment Used: PET scanner, intravenous line for injection.
  • Anesthesia/Sedation: Not typically required.


The entire process, including preparation, uptake period, and scanning, typically takes 2-3 hours.


  • The procedure is usually performed in a hospital or an outpatient imaging center with specialized PET scan facilities.


  • Nuclear Medicine Technologist: Administers the radioactive material and operates the PET scanner.
  • Radiologist: Interprets the scan results.
  • Healthcare Providers: May include nurses or other support staff for patient preparation and care.

Risks and Complications

  • Common Risks: Minimal exposure to radiation, allergic reactions to the tracer, discomfort at the injection site.
  • Rare Risks: Infection, extravasation of the tracer.


  • Diagnostic Clarity: Provides detailed and accurate images of bone structures.
  • Early Detection: Helps in early detection and better management of bone diseases.
  • Non-invasive: Less invasive compared to surgical diagnostic methods.


  • Post-Procedure Care: No significant recovery time; patients can usually resume normal activities immediately.
  • Hydration: Drink plenty of fluids to help flush out the radioactive material.


  • X-rays: Offer less detailed bone imaging.
  • MRI: Detailed imaging but may not be as effective for bone metabolism.
  • CT Scans: Detailed 3D images, higher radiation exposure.

Pros of PET Scan: High sensitivity for bone abnormalities. Cons: Exposure to a small amount of radiation.

Patient Experience

  • During Procedure: Minimal discomfort; patients must lie still.
  • After Procedure: No significant side effects; may experience a minor ache at the injection site.
  • Pain Management: Not typically needed, as the procedure is generally painless.

Patients are encouraged to discuss any concerns or questions with their healthcare provider prior to the procedure for a clear understanding and peace of mind.

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