Thyroid scintigraphy is an imaging process to display the size, anatomy and function of the thyroid gland. After Tc-99m-Pertechnetat has been administered intravenously, thyroid regions which retain more or less of it can be shown.
In conjunction with the ultrasound examination (sonography) of the thyroid gland and determining the thyroid hormone values in the blood, this provides the differential diagnosis for various diseases of the thyroid gland:
- Overfunction (hyperthyreosis): e.g. in the case of thyroid autonomy or Graves' disease
- Underfunction (hypothyreosis): e.g. in the case of Hashimoto's disease or other types of thyroiditis
- Goitre or struma (enlargement of the thyroid gland)
- Diagnosing unclear thyroid nodules: e.g. thyroid carcinoma or benign nodules.
Procedure for thyroid diagnosis (in general):
When, for example, tissue changes (e.g. nodules) are revealed by means of sonography, thyroid scintigraphy is performed for further diagnosis. This enables a distinction to be made between cold (non-functioning) nodules from warm (functioning – autonomous adenomas) nodules. In the case of an irregular reflex pattern of the thyroid gland in ultrasound, additional thyroid scintigraphy in conjunction with the laboratory examinations can provide proof of thyroiditis.
Fine needle aspiration (tissue removal using a cannula with a narrow lumen) is performed when a malignant disease is to be excluded (e.g. in the case of cold nodules or with some forms of thyroiditis).
In order to absorb sufficient pertechnetat in the thyroid gland and thus to achieve meaningful images, we request our patients not to take thyroid hormones (e.g. Jodthyox®, Euthyrox®, L-Tyroxin®, etc.) for c. 3-4 weeks before the examination.
In the last 3-6 months before the thyroid scintigraphy, no high doses of iodine should be taken, for example as are contained in X-ray contrast agents (computed tomography, intracardiac catheter) or in certain medicines (Cordarex).
Length of examination
The examination takes around 1 hour. An appointment must be made.