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Thyroid scintigraphy

gammagrafía Vall d'Hebron

The thyroid gland actively captures iodine for the synthesis of thyroid hormones. If radioactive iodine is administered, the weak radiation released can be detected and reveal information about the gland’s condition.

The test takes advantage of the affinity that the thyroid gland has for iodine. This affinity is increased in the case of hyperthyroidism, which is the situation in which scintigraphy is most useful.

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Description

What is for?

 To determine the shape, size and location of the thyroid gland. It can also detect nodules or areas of hyperactivity or hypoactivity.

 

Who does it work?

A slightly radioactive isotope of iodine is injected intravenously. When it is captured by the thyroid gland, a gamma camera detects the gamma radiation from the iodine taken in by the thyroid gland and gives us an image of the gland and its more and less active areas.

 

Risks

Although a radioactive substance is used, the level of radiation is very low. It is not recommended in pregnant women.

 

Alternatives

An ultrasound can be useful in detecting nodules, but it does not given an idea of the level of activity in the same way as scintigraphy does.