Nuclear Medicine Parathyroid Scan

What is a Parathyroid Scan?

A nuclear medicine parathyroid scan is an accurate means of imaging the parathyroid.  This exam is done on patients for a variety of reasons. The exam is done by using a substance that is injected into a vein in your arm or hand. This very mild and safe radioactive agent is injected into your vein and is absorbed by the overactive parathyroid gland.

How is the examination performed?

A registered and certified Nuclear Medicine Technologist will perform your examination and can answer any questions you may have.   You will be asked your name and date of birth to verify your identity.

You will then be asked to lie down on the scanning table. You will be positioned on your back with a roll of blankets or a sponge under your shoulders in order to extend your neck for the images. The Technologist will then place a tourniquet on your arm to look for a vein to access for the injection. Once a vein is identified, your Technologist will cleanse the injection site with alcohol. Next, the Technologist will give you the injection of the radioactive material. There are no side effects to this injection. Your images will begin  immediately after the injection and will last about 30 minutes. There are three sets of images taken and following the first set you will be asked to return to the Nuclear Medicine department in 2 hours for your second set.  There is a third set of images done after another 4 hour delay. When you return, you will have about 20 minutes of imaging left. Every effort to keep you comfortable will be made, if you have any questions or need anything during your exam, please ask, your care is our priority.

Who is a candidate for a Parathyroid Scan?

This exam is usually done on patients that have already been diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism.

Will I need to prepare for the exam?

There is no preparation for this exam. Please do not wear any jewelry around your neck.

What will I experience?

You will lie down on the imaging table and be positioned for the exam. You will receive an injection using a very small needle. The injection of the radioisotope is safe. The Technologist will take some images of your neck that will take about 30 minutes or less.

Following the first set of images, you will be allowed to leave, but asked to return in about 2 hours for a second set of images. A third set of images are taken 4 hours after the injection.  Once those images are complete, you will be all done. You may resume normal activities.

What happens next?

Your images will be analyzed by the Technologist and the nuclear medicine computer and sent to the Radiologist’s computer for interpretation.

Your images will be interpreted by a State of New Mexico licensed and board certified Physician, Radiologist, that specializes in radiology interpretation. A report will be dictated, transcribed, and faxed to the Physician that ordered your test. Your Physician will receive the report within 24 hours and is responsible for notifying  you of the results.

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