Thyroid Uptake and Imaging

What is a Thyroid Uptake and Scan?

A Thyroid Uptake and Scan is used to measure the function of the thyroid gland. It also provides information about the size, shape and structure of the thyroid.

This exam requires the use of a radiopharmaceutical that is in the form of a capsule and taken by mouth. Measurements of the thyroid are taken four hours after the capsule is given and again the following day. Images of the thyroid will be acquired on the second day.

Prior to the exam:

Your child should maintain a low iodine diet for three days prior to the test as specified by the ordering physician; no fish and/or seafood, no added salt, no frozen or canned foods, no seaweed or kelp.

Your child should not receive radiographic contrast agents 2 to 4 weeks prior to the scan.

Your child may need to discontinue thyroid medication for up to 6 weeks prior to the exam, again as specified by the ordering physician; call the Nuclear Medicine Department at 205-638-9667 to ensure that any medications your child may take do not interfere with the exam.

We have a large variety of video entertainment to choose from, however, your child may also bring along his/her favorite DVD to watch during the exam.

Note: Parents/guardians will be allowed to accompany their child into the exam room.

When you arrive:

You must check in to Imaging Registration, on the first floor of the Benjamin Russell Building 30 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment in order to register.
Once the registration process is completed, a technologist will greet you and escort you to the nuclear medicine examination room. 

During the exam:

Your child will then be given a radioactive iodine capsule which helps to measure the function and size of the thyroid.

Your child is then allowed to take a break. During the break, you and your child may leave the Nuclear Medicine department if you wish. The technologist will tell you what time you need to return to the department for the measurement portion of the test.

When you return to the Nuclear Medicine Department 4 hours later, a measurement of the thyroid is taken using a special probe pointed at your child's neck. This will take approximately 10 minutes. The measurement helps to determine the function of the thyroid. Another measurement will be taken 24 hours later. Images will be acquired at this time.

After the Exam:

Instructions after the exam will be given by the Nuclear Medicine Technologist in accordance with the referring physician's orders.

Test Results:

The images from your child's exam are interpreted by a pediatric radiologist and a report is sent to your physician's office.

If your physician has any questions regarding the report, he/she may call 205-638-9730.

Question or concern about your child’s exam?