Thyroid Scan

It is a kind of scan which is performed to measure or evaluate the functioning of the thyroid gland of a person. This scan is mostly conducted in a laboratory or testing center of a hospital. This kind of scan falls under nuclear medicine as this test uses a certain amount of radioactive iodine or radioiodine. This scan is similar to Iodine uptake scan and its purpose is to determine the condition of the thyroid gland of an individual and to find out the root cause of any thyroid related disorder.

How is Thyroid Scan performed?

The patient is given a pill which contains radioiodine (radioactive iodine), the iodine is mixed with the blood, allowed to flow with the bloodstream and then to settle in the person’s thyroid. After about 4 – 6 hours, with the help of a camera, the testers then find out the amount of iodine that the thyroid gland has absorbed from the blood. This scan will then reveal the cause of different thyroid related problems.

The camera takes pictures of the person’s thyroid gland from three different angles. These images will help in determining over active & under active stages of thyroid gland. This test can also be performed with radioactive technetium instead of using radioiodine.

A complete body scan can also be performed for people who suffer from thyroid cancer. This scan helps in determining if the cancerous cells have spread across the patient’s body.

Why is Thyroid Scan required?

A thyroid scan could be required in order to:

  • Find the root cause of hyperthyroidism (when the thyroid gland is over active).
  • To determine if thyroid cancer have spread in areas, outside of the patient’s thyroid gland.

The thyroid scan is prescribed by the doctor based on the condition of the patient.