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Parathyroid Scan

Overview :

A parathyroid scan is a non-invasive procedure that uses two radiopharmaceuticals (drugs with a radioactive marker) to obtain an image of highly active areas of the parathyroid glands. The test can be done in two ways.

Immediate scan

If the test is to be performed immediately, the patient lies down on an imaging table with his head and neck extended and immobilized. The patient is injected with the first radiopharmaceutical. After waiting 20 minutes, the patient is positioned under the camera for imaging. Each image takes five minutes. It is essential that the patient remain still during imaging.

After the first image, the patient is injected with a second radiopharmaceutical, and imaging continues for another 25 minutes. Total time for the test is about one hour: injection 10 minutes, waiting period 20 minutes, and imaging 30 minutes.

Another way to do this test is as follows. After the first images are acquired, the patient returns two hours later for additional images. Time for this procedure totals about three hours: injection 10 minutes, waiting period two hours and 20 minutes, and imaging 30 minutes.

Delayed scan

In a delayed parathyroid scan, the patient is asked to swallow capsules containing the first radiopharmaceutical. The patient returns after a four hour waiting period, and the initial image is made. Then the patient is injected with the second radiopharmaceutical. Imaging continues for another 25 minutes. The total time is about four hours and 40 minutes: waiting period four hours, injection 10 minutes, and imaging 30 minutes.

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