Medical Imaging

Nuclear Medicine > Exams & Procedures > Parathyroid Scan

This scan tests the level of function of the parathyroid glands, which help control calcium balance in the body.

The test involves the injection of a radioactive tracer that will flow to the parathyroid glands. Pictures are taken as the tracer is injected and then 10 minutes later using two types of camera lenses. Delayed pictures are taken three hours later to help isolate the parathyroid glands from the thyroid gland.

Preparation

  • Bring a list of all medications and supplements you take. This includes vitamins, herbal remedies, and holistic medications.
  • Do not bring children or pregnant women with you to the department. We do not want to expose them to unnecessary radiation.
  • Any of these procedures is subject to change according to the nuclear medicine physician. The duration of the tests is a rough estimate. Please be aware that the time may be lengthened if a scan has to be repeated, if emergency cases are brought to the department or due to unforeseen circumstances.

About the Procedure

Interview and initial pictures - 30 minutes.
Break - three hours.
Delayed pictures - 15 minutes.

  • A technologist will briefly explain the test to you and try to answer any questions you may have about the procedure.
  • A technologist will ask you a few questions about your medical history and medications.
  • You will be asked to lie down on a bed.
  • A camera will be positioned above your head and neck; the camera will be close but will not touch you. Please inform the technologist if you are afraid of small spaces (claustrophobic).
  • The technologist will give you an injection of a radioactive tracer into a vein.
  • Pictures are taken as the tracer is injected.
  • You are given a 10 minute break.
  • You will be repositioned under the camera and a picture will be taken.
  • We will switch to another camera that has a different lens and repeat the picture.
  • You will be given a three hour break and come back for more pictures.
  • Two pictures will be taken using different lenses.