Thyroid Uptake and Scan

Your doctor has ordered a thyroid uptake and scan. The role of this procedure is to evaluate thyroid nodules, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism and goiter.

Our team of specialized doctors, nurses and technologists is led by Louise Thomson, MD and Alessandro D'Agnolo, MD, co-chiefs of Nuclear Medicine. This exam requires three visits over two days.

Why choose the S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center for a thyroid uptake and scan?

Before Your Exam

  • You can print and fill out the Thyroid Diagnostic Intake Form on our Pre-Registration Questionnaire page before arriving to speed registration.
  • No iodinated contrast material for 6 weeks (CT, IVP or angio) before exam.
  • Ask your doctor about discontinuing Synthroid®, Levoxyl® or Levothyroxine® six weeks before exam, Cytomel® (T3) or Liothyronine two weeks before exam, and antithyroid medication five days before exam.
  • Avoid eating sushi, seaweed, kelp products or seafood one week before exam.You must discontinue thyroid hormones for 6 weeks before your exam.
  • If your doctor gave you an order, please bring it with you.
  • We want to make your waiting time as pleasant as possible. Consider bringing your favorite magazine, book or music player to help you pass the time.
  • Please leave your jewelry and valuables at home.

During Your Exam

  • Upon arrival, the technologist will explain your procedure and answer any questions you may have.
  • You will visit the department three times.
  • On your first visit, you will swallow a small radioactive iodine capsule.
  • On your second visit (four hours after taking the capsule), you will have an uptake measurement, pictures of your thyroid gland and an examination of your thyroid gland by the nuclear medicine physician.
  • You will be in a sitting position for your uptake measurement procedure and lying flat on your back while pictures of your thyroid gland are taken.
  • The uptake probe used to perform the uptake measurement and the gamma camera used to take pictures of your thyroid gland do not produce any radiation. Each instrument simply detects and/or records the distribution of radioactive material in your thyroid.
  • Measuring the uptake and taking pictures of your thyroid gland will take approximately one hour.
  • Finally, on your third visit (24 hours after taking the capsule), you will have a follow-up uptake measurement of your thyroid gland.
  • This final visit will take approximately five minutes.

After Your Exam

  • If you stopped your thyroid medication, you must call your physician for instructions before resuming your medication.
  • Your study will be reviewed by an imaging physician specialist and the results sent to your physician. Your physician will discuss these results with you and explain what they mean in relation to your health.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 310-423-8000.

The S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center provides a full range of advanced imaging, both radiology and cardiology, as well as interventional radiology and interventional tumor (oncology) treatments to the greater Los Angeles area, including Beverly Hills, Encino, Mid-Cities, Sherman Oaks, Silver Lake, Studio City, Toluca Lake and West Hollywood.