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Thyroid Uptake & Scan

Patient Preparation

Patient must not have any food or drink for 4 hours prior to their exam.  

If the patient has had an IVP or a CT with IV contrast, a thyroid scan should not be attempted for 4-6 weeks. Patient should be off thyroid medications for 4-6 weeks. Many other medications interfere with scanning (PCN, antihistamines, Amiodarone, etc.). Make sure to notify the nuclear medicine technologist of any medications you are taking.

Exam Procedure
The uptake and scan procedures involve two separate visits to the Nuclear Medicine Department. During the first visit, the patient will be asked to swallow a small amount of radioactive iodine in the form of a pill.  The pill has no side effects. This visit should take approximately fifteen minutes.

Six hours later, the patient must return for a measurement of their thyroid's radioiodine uptake. The uptake procedure measures the amount of radioactive iodine absorbed by the thyroid gland. For the uptake measurement, the patient sits comfortably in a chair, and a detector will be positioned several inches from the neck. The amount of the radioiodine in the thyroid gland will be measured. This will take approximately five minutes.

For the scan, the patient will lie on their back on an imaging table with the camera positioned above them. The imaging will consist of 4 pictures which take up to five minutes each.



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