A thyroid scan is one of the many procedures done to assess the overall health of your thyroid, but it’s a straightforward one. This process doesn’t require any blood tests or needles because it’ll only be taking pictures of your thyroid. You may also have your thyroid scan results within the day and have your doctor assess your thyroid. Find out more about this simple thyroid test.
7 Useful Thyroid Scan Information to Have
1. When Do You Need a Thyroid Scan
Your physician will usually advise you to have a thyroid scan to determine the overall health of your thyroid. This scan will show your thyroid gland’s size, shape, and overall activity. It aims to determine how your thyroid is producing thyroid hormones, whether there’s enough, too little, or too much.
2. What Happens Before the Thyroid Scan
This scan is a simple outpatient procedure usually done in the radiology department of hospitals. Before the scan, you’re asked to take some radionuclide either in pill or liquid form, or even an injectable. Your thyroid needs to absorb this radioactive iodine before you can start the procedure. This usually takes around 4 hours.
3. The Common Procedure
After your thyroid has absorbed most of the iodine, you’ll be asked to lie down on an examination table. While you’re lying down, the technologist will try to extend your neck by tipping your head back to the scanner can take more accurate scans of your thyroid from three different angles. It takes about 30 minutes for the technologist to develop these images.
4. The RAIU Procedure
Instead of waiting 4 hours after you take the radionuclide, the RAIU procedure requires you to wait 24 hours before coming back. After 24 hours, the technologist will ask you to lie down again, but they will be placing a probe just above your thyroid gland to measure its radioactivity. This test only takes a few minutes, but it takes another 24 hours for the results to reach your doctor.
5. The Metastatic Survey Procedure
For this procedure, you may only take the radionuclide in pill form and wait 2-7 days before the iodine can be distributed throughout your whole body. When you come back, you’ll be asked to lie down again, and the scans will be taken from both the back and front of your body. Throughout this procedure, you’ll be required to stay still.
6. What Does a Thyroid Scan Monitor
The overall purpose of the thyroid scan is to determine the shape and size of your thyroid, as well as its health. It is used to monitor the gland’s thyroid hormone production, the thyroid nodule, and the health of specific parts of the gland. It may also accurately help in determining if your thyroid cancer has developed past your thyroid area.
7. Be Mindful of Your Urine
One of the essential things to be mindful of when you take a thyroid scan is your urine. After you make the radionuclide, your body may try to secrete it through your urine. For the next 24 hours, your urine is not safe to come in contact with others because it may contain the radioactive iodine.
Watch this video from The Ultrasound Suite to see for yourself what happens when you have a thyroid ultrasound scan!
A thyroid scan is different from all the other thyroid tests so far. It requires no needles but only a drink of an iodine solution to help capture shots of your thyroid. This analysis aims to give you an accurate image of your thyroid gland’s size and shape, as well as help your doctor accurately assess the overall health and activity of your thyroid.
Have you had a thyroid scan? What was it like? Share your thoughts and experience with us in the comments below!