Thyroid Scan

  • Medical Author:
    Ruchi Mathur, MD, FRCP(C)

    Ruchi Mathur, MD, FRCP(C) is an Attending Physician with the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism and Associate Director of Clinical Research, Recruitment and Phenotyping with the Center for Androgen Related Disorders, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

View the Hyperthyroidism Slideshow Pictures

Quick GuideHyperthyroidism Pictures Slideshow: Keep Your Thyroid in Check

Hyperthyroidism Pictures Slideshow: Keep Your Thyroid in Check

What is significant about whether a nodule is "hot" or "cold?"

Functioning or "hot" nodules only rarely are from cancer. Nearly all thyroid cancers are nonfunctioning or "cold" nodules. However, even among "cold" nodules, cancer is infrequent (less than 5 percent of cases).

Summary

While the thought of taking something "radioactive" is not very appealing, it is important to remember that iodine concentrates only in thyroid tissue, making this test safe and also quite specific for thyroid disorders.

A thyroid scan can provide information on both the structure as well as the function of the thyroid gland. This information can help you and your physician determine if further investigations, procedures, or medications are medically necessary.

Medically reviewed by Avrom Simon, MD; Board Certified Preventative Medicine with Subspecialty in Occupational Medicine

REFERENCE:

"Thyroid Scan"
National Institutes of Health

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/11/2015

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