A pertechnetate or radioactive iodine nuclear medicine scan shows the shape of the thyroid gland and identifies areas of the thyroid that are functioning either more or less actively than the rest of the gland. This information is helpful in evaluating the cause of overactive thyroid conditions, enlargement of the thyroid (goiter), and lumps (nodules) within the thyroid. The amount of radiation received from this procedure is very low and there are no side effects from either pertechnetate or the form of radioactive iodine, I-123, used in this test.
Radioactive Iodine Therapy
Radioactive iodine is commonly prescribed for the treatment of an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), and following surgery for thyroid cancer. It has been used for more than 50 years. Patients drink it in a small amount of water, through a straw. Most patients need only one dose for either hyperthyroidism or thyroid cancer. Radioactive iodine therapy is available as an outpatient treatment in the Beaumont Hospital Nuclear Medicine Department in the West Bloomfield Beaumont Professional building. Associated Endocrinologists’ doctors and the Beaumont Nuclear Medicine technical staff work together to give this therapy. It can usually be scheduled at a convenient time of day.
Bone Mineral Density Testing
Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) is the most common method to measure a patient’s bone density. Bone density is the best predictor of fracture risk that we have available to us in the field of medicine. The test is easy to perform and the amount of radiation exposure is very low. The bone density is quantitated by passing two x-ray beams through the spine, hip, and possibly the forearm. Based on the difference of the energy of the two beams a sensor on the undersurface of the body can determine a density or thickness of the bone. Measurements from one site actually predict the likelihood of fractures of other body sites as well as of that particular site.
Note: On the day of the test, you may eat a normal meal, but you should avoid taking your calcium supplement for 24 hours prior to the test. The test takes 10 to 20 minutes and is painless. There is no IV or other injections needed for this test.
A parathyroid scan is also known as a sestamibi scan. Sestamibi is an imaging agent that localizes in the abnormal parathyroid gland. The sestamibi scan, especially when it is performed with computerized tomography (SPECT) is the most sensitive and specific test available to detect an overactive parathyroid gland (parathyroid adenoma). We often use this test in correlation with neck ultrasound to localize abnormal parathyroid glands prior to parathyroid surgery.
Some AE physicians are certified in Nuclear Medicine and coordinate and interpret the following nuclear medicine studies through Beaumont hospital.