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HealthInfo Canterbury

Nuclear medicine thyroid scan

A nuclear medicine thyroid scan assesses the structure of your thyroid gland and looks at how well it's working.

A very small amount of radioactive material is injected into one of your veins, which is then taken up by your thyroid. A special camera called a gamma camera is then used to give a picture of the radioactive material in your thyroid gland.

The dose of radiation is about the same or less than the amount from having an X-ray and is quickly removed from your body. Side effects are rare.

Tell your doctor or phone the department first if you're pregnant or could be pregnant. Usually specialists will avoid a nuclear medicine scan in those cases. Also tell them if you're breastfeeding in case you need special instructions, as some radioactive material can be excreted in breast milk.

If you need a nuclear medicine thyroid scan, it will be done by Canterbury DHB's Nuclear Medicine Department.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by clinical lead, Nuclear Medicine, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed February 2020.


Page reference: 49066

Review key: HISXN-86976