Frequent question: What is a nuclear scan for thyroid?

A nuclear medicine thyroid scan is a type of nuclear medicine study that is used to evaluate thyroid structure and activity within the thyroid. A thyroid scan shows the structure, size, and location of your thyroid and the function of various portions of your gland.

Does a nuclear thyroid scan show cancer?

Your doctor may refer you for a nuclear medicine thyroid scan if it is believed parts of your thyroid gland are not working properly and to see whether the thyroid gland is overactive (hyperthyroidism). It can also help in distinguishing between benign (non-cancerous) and malignant (cancerous) thyroid nodules or lumps.

How long does a nuclear thyroid scan take?

Actual scanning time for a thyroid scan is 30 minutes or less. You will be given radioactive iodine (I-123 or I-131) in liquid or capsule form to swallow. The thyroid uptake will begin several hours to 24 hours later.

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What can I expect from a thyroid uptake scan?

During Your Exam

On your first visit, you will swallow a small radioactive iodine capsule. On your second visit (four hours after taking the capsule), you will have an uptake measurement, pictures of your thyroid gland and an examination of your thyroid gland by the nuclear medicine physician.

Can I eat or drink before a thyroid scan?

Please be sure not to eat or drink anything 2 hours prior to your first appointment (you will also need to refrain from eating or drinking for 2 hours following your appointment—see below for further exam preparation details). You will then return to the department at the same time on the following day for imaging.

How does thyroid cancer make you feel?

The main symptom of thyroid cancer is a lump or swelling at the front of the neck just below your Adam’s apple, which is usually painless. Women also have Adam’s apples, but they’re much smaller and less prominent than a man’s. The lymph nodes in your neck can also be affected and become swollen.

What is the best scan to detect cancer?

A CT scan can help doctors find cancer and show things like a tumor’s shape and size. CT scans are most often an outpatient procedure. The scan is painless and takes about 10 to 30 minutes.

Is thyroid scan painful?

You may experience mild pain and redness at the injection site for a short time if you receive an injection of the radionuclide. Even though the radiation exposure is minimal and short term, thyroid scans aren’t recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

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Can I use my cell phone after radioactive iodine?

You will have to stay in your room for at least 1 to 2 hours after your treatment. You can use your cell phone or watch TV to help pass the time. You won’t be able to have visitors during this time. You may not have any side effects from the treatment right after you get it, but you may have side effects later.

Why do I need a nuclear scan?

Nuclear medicine scans can help doctors find tumors and see how much the cancer has spread in the body (called the cancer’s stage). They may also be used to decide if treatment is working. These tests are painless and usually done as an outpatient procedure.

How do I prepare for a thyroid scan?

Do not eat or drink for four hours before or two hours after your thyroid test.

  1. Do not eat or drink for four hours before or two hours after your thyroid test. You may drink water.
  2. If you have any other test today where you are told not to eat or drink for a longer amount of time, please follow those instructions.

What should your thyroid look like when you swallow?

As you swallow, look for any enlargements, lumps, protrusions, or anything that is off center. It is a good idea to repeat the process again, swallowing another mouthful of water, and observing the structures in your neck a few times. Thyroid nodules are bumps that usually appear round.

How do I prepare for a thyroid uptake scan?

When you arrive at Imaging Services, you will swallow a capsule that contains a tracer. You must fast for 2 more hours after swallowing this capsule. You may drink water. You may eat after this 2-hour fasting period, before you return for your uptake study.

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Is fasting required for thyroid test?

Generally, you don’t need to fast before doing a thyroid function test. However, not fasting is sometimes linked to a lower TSH level. This means your results might not pick up on mild (subclinical) hypothyroidism — where your TSH levels are only mildly elevated.

How long does the radioactive iodine stay in your system?

How long does radioiodine stay in my body? The radioiodine from your treatment will temporarily remain in your body. Most of the radioiodine not taken up by your thyroid gland will be eliminated within the first (2) two days after treatment. Radioiodine leaves your body primarily by your urine.

How long does it take to get thyroid uptake results?

This process usually takes less than 24 hours. It is essential to tell your doctor if you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant before undergoing this scan because of radiation exposure.

Lots of iodine