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Answer to Question #8131 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"

Category: Nuclear Medicine Patient Issues — Diagnostic Nuclear Medicine

The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:

I had a bone scan recently and I was told that I could not nurse my 10-month-old for a day after the procedure. However, I was not told that I could not be near him. I am scared that I exposed him to radiation because I was near him during those times. How much radiation comes from a person after having a bone scan? Would this cause a problem for my 10-month-old?


The regulatory guidance document which discusses the cessation of breast-feeding after nuclear medicine exams does not recommend cessation after a bone scan, but states that it is at the discretion of the physician to make a recommendation. So your facility was very cautious and conservative in recommending a one-day cessation. This document based its recommendations on calculations on how much activity would result in a 1 mSv dose to an infant. The dose limit to the public from radiation is 1 mSv.

There are no recommendations to restrict time with infants and children from any diagnostic nuclear medicine exam, only from therapy procedures. The doses from diagnostic exams are so small as to be of no concern. That is why they did not tell you that you needed to restrict your time with your child. Your child should not have any problem from the very low radiation exposure while the radioactive material was decaying and being eliminated from your body.

Marcia Hartman, MS

Answer posted on 2 April 2009. The information posted on this web page is intended as general reference information only. Specific facts and circumstances may affect the applicability of concepts, materials, and information described herein. The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon in the absence of such professional advice. To the best of our knowledge, answers are correct at the time they are posted. Be advised that over time, requirements could change, new data could be made available, and Internet links could change, affecting the correctness of the answers. Answers are the professional opinions of the expert responding to each question; they do not necessarily represent the position of the Health Physics Society.
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