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Thyroid Nuclear Scan Interpretation and Reporting

A nuclear thyroid scan is a minimally invasive nuclear medicine procedure that uses a radioactive iodine tracer and images taken by a gamma camera to see how well the thyroid gland is working.
This procedure is commonly used to determine the size, shape and position of the thyroid gland, as well as its function and any nodules or lumps in the area.  The results of this procedure can help diagnose an overactive thyroid gland, cancer and other thyroid problems.  A nuclear thyroid scan can also be used to determine the efficiency of cancer treatments or if thyroid cancer has spread to other areas of the body.
During a nuclear thyroid scan, the radioactive tracer material is administered through intravenous injection, swallowing or inhaled as a gas.  Most thyroid imaging techniques capitalize on some phase of hormone synthesis within the thyroid gland. Depending on the method of intake, a short waiting period may be required to allow the tracer to travel through the body.  The patient will then lie on a moveable table and will move through the exam system so that images of the thyroid gland can be taken from three different angles with a gamma camera.  This procedure takes less than 30 minutes to perform.
The results of nuclear thyroid scan procedure cannot be obtained from any other type of imaging procedure, and are often useful in making an accurate diagnosis for a wide range of thyroid conditions.  A nuclear thyroid scan is also a less expensive and less invasive alternative to exploratory surgery.