Nuclear Medicine Thyroid Uptake & Scan

What is a Thyroid Uptake & Scan?

A nuclear medicine thyroid uptake and scan is an accurate means of measuring thyroid function.

How is the examination performed?

A registered and certified nuclear medicine technologist will perform you examination and can answer any questions you may have.

Who is a candidate for a Thyroid Uptake & Scan?

There are many reasons why this test could be needed including, but not limited to, fatigue, unexplained weight gain, or loss, abnormal lab results, abnormal ultrasound of the thyroid, a lump or goiter on your thyroid, etc.

Will I need to prepare for the exam?

Yes, please do not eat anything for 2 hours prior to your scheduled appointment time.  You may drink water.  You must not have had any examinations involving the injection of IV contrast in the past 6 weeks.  You must be off of any thyroid hormone medication for 2 weeks prior to the exam.  You must be off anti-thyroid medication for at least 7 days prior to the exam.  Please do not take any sinus or cold medicine or vitamins for at least 3 days prior to your exam.  Also, please do not eat any fish, kelp, seaweed, or iodine rich foods for at least 5 days prior to your exam.  This exam will not be done if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

What will I experience?

Your Nuclear Medicine Technologist will thoroughly explain the examination and then ask if you have any questions.  You will be asked to identify yourself by name and date of birth.  A radioactive capsule will be measured and then given to you to swallow with a small amount of water.  You will then be asked to leave for 4 hours.  When you return you will sit down and a probe (a white tube-like piece of equipment) will be placed on your neck to measure the radioactivity in your thyroid.  Following the measurement, you will lie down for a 35-40 minute scan. After the first measurement and scan, you will be asked to return the next day at a certain time.  Another measurement and scan will be taken in the same manner.

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.