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Parathyroid Scintigraphy


Parathyroid scintigraphy is a test used to look at parathyroid glands and tissues in your neck. The parathyroid glands maintain calcium and phosphate levels in your body. Sometimes the parathyroid glands are overactive. The test may show an adenoma (non-cancerous tumor) that is preventing the parathyroid glands from working properly. Parathyroid scintigraphy helps healthcare providers diagnose your condition and plan your treatment.

Thyroid and Parathyroid Glands


Before the test:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.
  • Tell your healthcare provider if you are breastfeeding, pregnant, or think you might be pregnant.

During the test:

Parathyroid scintigraphy can take more than 3 hours to complete as the radioactive medicine moves through your body. The test is done as a series of pictures. You will need to stay still while the pictures are taken.

  • An IV is placed in your vein to give you radioactive medicine. The medicine may also be given as a pill. The medicine helps the parathyroid glands show up better in the pictures.
  • You may receive 2 kinds of radioactive medicines. Expect the test to take more time if 2 medicines are used.
  • Pictures of your neck and chest are taken for 30 to 40 minutes with each dose of radioactive medicine. The images may also be taken after a waiting period of up to 3 hours.

After the test:

  • Drink liquids as directed. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. Liquids will help flush the radioactive medicine out of your body.
  • You may not be able to breastfeed after this test. Ask how long you must stop breastfeeding.


The radiopharmaceutical used during parathyroid scintigraphy contains radiation. While the amount of radiation you are exposed to is small, radiation increases the risk of miscarriage and can affect the development of an unborn baby. The results of your test may not be clear. This can happen when the radiopharmaceutical does not show up in the abnormal tissue. The number and location of the abnormal glands or thyroid problems may also cause unclear results. You may need more tests to help diagnose or treat your parathyroid condition.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

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