Parathyroid scintigraphy is performed for various diseases. Usually, there is an overproduction of parathyroid hormones. The four parathyroid glands normally attach to the thyroid gland and are tiny. They produce vital hormones. Occasionally, an enlarged parathyroid gland can also be detected on ultrasound examination of the neck, which is often performed in addition to scintigraphy.
Please do not ingest any food prior to the examination. After midnight, you should not eat anything anymore and should not drink fat containing liquids. Drinking water or coffee/tea without milk is permitted. Please take your medications as prescribed. When arriving at the hospital, please present yourself to the reception desk of Nuclear medicine located on the left right after entering through the main entrance of the hospital.
The examination is a nuclear medicine scan. First, you receive some water containing radioactive iodine in minute quantities. Two hours later another substance is injected into an arm vein, which is also slightly radioactive. A few minutes later several scans of your neck are taken, lasting approximately one hour. Using computers, digital images are obtained, on which enlarged, supernumerary or displaced parathyroid glands can be localized. During the scans, you need to lay still on the examination table, while the camera heads are rotating slowly around you. If you suffer from claustrophobia, we suggest that you bring an accompanying person, who is allowed to sit next to you during the entire examination. Children and young adults are excluded.
Total examination is about 4 hours. After the exam you may eat and drink normally and no other precautions are necessary.
The substances given are very well tolerated. There are no side effects known from literature and in our experience. The dose of ionizing radiation given is very small and comparable to a standard X-ray.
The evaluation of your examination takes some time. Hence, we cannot give you any results right after the examination. We will transmit the results and the images taken to the referring physician as soon as they are ready.
Attending Physician, Department of Nuclear Medicine
Endocrinologist, Department of Nuclear Medicine
Internal medicine specialist, Department of Nuclear Medicine
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