Thyroid scintigraphy is an imaging procedure for depicting thyroid size, anatomy and function. After intravenous administration of Tc-99m pertechnetate, it is possible to detect thyroid regions accumulating this agent to a greater or lesser degree.
Together with ultrasound examination and determination of thyroid hormone levels, scintigraphy is used for diagnostic investigation of different thyroid diseases:
- In the case of an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism): e.g. in the case of autonomy or Basedow disease
- In the case of an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism): e.g. in the case of Hashimoto disease or other thyroid inflammations
- Goitre or struma (enlargement of the thyroid gland)
- Clarification of unclear thyroid nodules: e.g. thyroid carcinoma or benign nodules.
Fine-needle biopsy (tissue removal using a very fine needle) is performed in order to rule out a malignant disease (in the case of cold nodules or in the case of certain types of thyroid inflammation).
To ensure sufficient uptake of pertechnetate in the thyroid and thus a conclusive diagnosis, the intake of thyroid medications (e.g. Jodthyox®, Euthyrox®, L-Thyroxin®, etc.) should be discontinued approx. 3 to 4 weeks before the examination. It may be necessary to consult your family physician about this. Furthermore, neither high doses of iodine ( e.g. iodinated contrast agent as part of a computed tomography or a cardiac catheter examination) should have been administered nor iodine-containing medications should have been taken for a period of 3 to 6 months prior to a thyroid scintigraphy.
The examination duration of a thyroid scintigraphy is approx. 1 hour. The examination can only be performed by appointment.