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Thyroid Scan and Uptake Test

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What do I need to know about a thyroid scan and uptake test?

A thyroid scan and uptake test are nuclear medicine tests done to examine your thyroid gland. During a thyroid scan, a small amount of radioactive tracer is given to create pictures of your thyroid. The pictures show the size, shape, and position of your thyroid. A thyroid scan may also show if there are any lumps in your thyroid. During an uptake test, a radioactive iodine tracer is given to show how well your thyroid works. The amount of radioactive iodine taken up by your thyroid will be measured.

Thyroid and Parathyroid Glands

How do I prepare for a thyroid scan and uptake test?

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for these tests. You will need to stop using supplements or medicines that contain iodine. You may also need to follow a low-iodine diet for about a week before these tests. You may be told not to eat or drink anything for several hours before the tests. Your provider will also tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of your tests. You may be told not to wear jewelry or anything made of metal during the tests.

What will happen during a thyroid scan and uptake test?

What will happen after a thyroid scan and uptake test?

You will need to drink plenty of liquids after your thyroid scan and uptake test. This will help flush the tracer out of your body. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.

What are the risks of a thyroid scan and uptake test?

If you had an injection of radioactive tracer, you may have mild pain and redness at the injection site. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not have these tests. The fetus or baby can be exposed to a small amount of radiation from the tracer used during these tests.

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

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Further information

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