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Thyroid Scan (Thyroid Scintigraphy) — WR Pediatric Imaging Procedure

What is a thyroid scintigraphy?

A thyroid scan is a diagnostic procedure that produces functional images of the thyroid gland. It can help your physician determine the size, shape, and position of the thyroid gland.

Why would my doctor request a thyroid scan?

A thyroid scintigraphy can help assess:

  • Neck masses
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Ectopic thyroid
  • Thyroid malignancy
  • Graves’ disease
  • Thyroglossal duct cyst
  • Benign diffuse goiter
  • Thyroiditis
  • Radiation therapy planning

How do I prepare for a thyroid scan?

The referring physician may ask that your child stop certain medications prior to having a thyroid scan. Your child cannot have anything to eat or drink one hour prior to administration of the radiopharmaceutical and for 30 minutes afterward.

How is a thyroid scan performed?

You will be greeted by one of our technologists who will explain to you/your child what will happen during the examination. Your child will be asked to swallow a capsule or liquid containing a radiopharmaceutical called Iodine-123. Once the administration is complete, you are free to leave the department. The technologist will give your child an exact time to return for the actual imaging. Typically, imaging takes place at 4 and 24 hours after radiopharmaceutical administration. When you return, your child will be asked to void, and imaging will begin. The camera, which looks like a large upside down ice cream cone, comes very close to the patient’s neck. Three images of the thyroid gland are taken, each approximately 12 to 20 minutes in length. It is important that your child remain as still as possible during imaging to obtain the best quality images.

What can be expected during the procedure?

Although the camera may appear large and intimidating, it does not touch your child.

What happens after the study?

Once the study is complete, it will be evaluated for quality. If there was too much motion, the study may need to be repeated. If there was no motion, your child will be free to leave and resume normal activity.

Badges of Honor

Wake Radiology is proud to have received the highest accreditations possible from the American College of Radiology (ACR).

Learn more about our accreditations!


Wake Radiology technologists have earned the highest certifications possible.

highest-certfication-possibleAll Wake Radiology technologists:

✔ are certified by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT)

✔ have graduated from an accredited radiology program

✔ have the technical expertise needed to obtain high quality images & deliver exceptional patient care

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