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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.


Before the test:

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your test.
  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
  • Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription and over-the-counter medicines that you take. This includes any medicines you have taken for other tests. Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye. He will also want to know about other medical conditions that you have.
  • Healthcare providers will take blood samples to test your calcium and parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels.
  • Tell your healthcare provider if you are breastfeeding, pregnant, or think you might be pregnant.
  • Ask your healthcare provider if you need to stop eating or drinking before this test.


What will happen:

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 the 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 with each dose of radioactive medicine.

After the test:

  • Drink liquids as directed. Ask your healthcare provider 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 healthcare providers how long you must stop breastfeeding.


  • You cannot make it to your procedure.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have a cold or the flu.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or the test.


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.

Care Agreement

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 caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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.