During a 3-year period a consecutive series of 102 patients were treated for renal cell carcinoma at one urological unit. Thirty-three patients (32.4%) had metastatic spread, but bone metastases were found in six patients only, i.e. 5.9% of the whole series and 18.2% of the patients with metastases preoperatively. The bone metastases had in all six patients given local symptoms first indicating radiography, and thereafter radionuclide scintigraphy of the entire skeleton. Bone scintigraphy performed merely by routine in 70 patients did not reveal one single case of bone metastasis. Only one patient had a solitary bone metastasis, and this metastasis was considered inoperable because of its location and size and the patient's age. The decision about nephrectomy was not in any case altered by the finding of bone metastases. Solitary bone metastasis must be diagnosed early since they may be radically removed. Routine scintigraphy of the skeleton in symptomless patients, however, has a low yield. Screening for skeletal metastases may therefore be best performed by careful physical examination and history-taking.