Information On Procedure and Results of a Thyroid Scan

Submitted by Nic on October 17, 2012

The thyroid gland is located in the throat. This gland performs some important functions associated with metabolism. The hormones secreted by the thyroid gland are used to stimulate the process of metabolism. Thyroid problems are fairly common, with individuals experiencing hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is the condition where the thyroid gland is functioning too fast. Hypothyroidism, on the other hand, is the condition where the thyroid gland is lazy or relatively inactive. Both these conditions cause health complications and need to be treated. A thyroid scan is therefore used to determine the nature of the problem so that it can be sorted out.

The thyroid scan test is an imaging test used to check the visible features of the thyroid gland. This scan is performed to check how quickly the thyroid gland absorbs iodine. A thyroid scan is usually ordered once there is a problem noted in the amount of thyroid hormone present in the blood. It is therefore a follow up test used to understand the nature of the problem that has caused the abnormal levels of thyroid hormone.

Being an imaging test, the thyroid scan takes a few hours to be performed. At first, the patient will be given some iodine orally. Over the next few hours, the patient's thyroid gland will repeatedly be scanned to check how quickly it is accepting the iodine. This test is therefore often referred to as the thyroid scan and uptake test. Testing during a thyroid scan may last up to six hours. Following this, the patient will be allowed to return home. In many cases, a repeat thyroid scan or test is conducted on the next day to check how much iodine has been absorbed by the thyroid gland.

Following this second test, the thyroid scan results can be declared. The thyroid scan results are used to check various aspects of the thyroid gland such as the size of the gland as well as the functional efficiency of the gland. One advantage of the thyroid scan results is the accuracy with which it can identify specific areas of the thyroid gland that are not functioning properly. These areas may be over active or under active. Depending on the nature of the problem, further medical tests may be performed. Treatment will follow the thyroid scan procedure if it is found that the gland is abnormal in some way. The thyroid scan test is usually painless for the patient.

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