What is it?
A thyroid scan shows the function and structure of the thyroid gland. It can give information not available from other tests such as ultrasound or blood tests.
What do I need to do before the procedure?
Make sure you remember to bring any previous films or reports to the appointment. Wear warm comfortable clothing. You will also need to:
- Medications - take your medications as normal. However, if you are on any thyroid medications (eg. Propylthiouracil [PTU], Carbimazole, Thyroxine or Tertroxin) or are on Amiodarone (Cordarone) you should notify the staff before having the test
- Advise of recent tests - let the service know if you have received recent X-ray contrast material (eg. for a CT scan or an angiogram)
- Advise of pregnancy or breastfeeding - let the service know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
What will happen?
A small injection of a radioactive tracer is given into a vein in the arm. You will then be asked to wait 15 minutes so the tracer can make its way through the body and to the thyroid gland. Pictures will then be taken with a special camera. This scan takes about 30 minutes and You will be required to lie still during the pictures and breathe normally.
What can I expect after?
There are no after-effects from having a thyroid scan. The small dose of radiation in the injection is about the same as you would get from a chest X-ray.
Once it is finished, you can go home. You are able to drive immediately after the test. Your results will be sent to your GP or specialist.