Nuclear Medicine Unit
Ninewells Hospital & Medical School

Information for Patients

Thyroid Scan

What is a Thyroid scan?

A thyroid scan is used to examine how your thyroid gland is working.  It can show conditions not seen using other tests.

The thyroid is found in the neck.  It produces a hormone that regulates how hard the cells of the body are working.

The scan can detect thyroid glands that are working too hard or not hard enough.  We can also see how large the thyroid is.

Before the scan.

If you are on a thyroid hormone replacement, your hospital consultant may ask you to stop taking it before the scan.  It is normal to stop thyroxine 3-4 weeks before and T3 about 1 week before.

What is involved?

This test is in two parts.

For scans on children:

Take your child to the Childrenís Outpatient Clinic to have a small plastic tube inserted in their arm.  If your child is over 3 months of age a special cream is put on first to temporarily numb the skin before the plastic tube is inserted.

Your child will then be brought up to the unit where they will lie on a bed.  We will give them an injection containing a small amount of radioactive tracer through the plastic tube.

For scans on adults:


Come straight to Nuclear Medicine.

We will give you an injection in your arm. The injection will contain a small amount of radioactive tracer.

For all patients:

Twenty minutes to one hour after the injection, we will take some pictures with a Gamma Camera.

You will lie on a special bed. We will position the camera above you. On the camera is a cone. We will place the narrow end of the cone against your neck.

You will be in Nuclear Medicine for up to one hour.

No undressing is required and you may eat normally beforehand.

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larger image of a
Thyroid scan

About Nuclear Medicine

To see general information about Nuclear Medicine scans, including pictures of the gamma cameras, press the button below.

Links to other pages

General Information
about Nuclear Medicine

Endocrine Entry


Thyroid Nodules


NHS Tayside; 2006; version 1.0

Disclaimer; no liability whatsoever is accepted for information given and all such information, especially with regard to drug usage (UK version provided), must be checked with a person’s health provider.

The procedures described above are those followed by the Nuclear Medicine Unit at Ninewells Hospital & Medical School, Dundee, United Kingdom.  Practice elsewhere may be different.  The unit serves patients from Tayside and North Fife.  Patients from elsewhere should refer to their local clinicians for advice.