Q:

How is a thyroid scan done?

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Quick Answer

To do a thyroid scan, doctors first ask patients to swallow a radioactive iodine pill, allow time for accumulation of the iodine in the patients' thyroid glands, ask patients to lie still on their backs so that the scanner is right above the patients' necks and chests, and view the thyroid gland images on a computer screen, explains MedlinePlus. They repeat the process after one day.

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To prepare for a thyroid gland scan, the doctor may advise the patient to stop eating any food some hours preceding the test to ensure accurate results, states MedlinePlus. Other preparatory things the patient should do may include seeking the doctor's advice about any medications he currently takes and clearing his body of obstructive objects, such as dentures and jewelry.

A thyroid scan is a test that doctors apply to evaluate the thyroid gland functioning using nuclear medicine imaging, according to MedlinePlus. When the results of this procedure indicate that the thyroid gland is in normal shape, size, color and position, it means the gland is working properly. Results that indicate otherwise may imply conditions such as hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism and thyroid tumor. Although this test is useful, it is risky as it exposes patients to radioactive rays. It is therefore advisable to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of this test before it is done.

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