Parathyroid SPECT Imaging Study

This test uses a radioactive chemical to find problems with the parathyroid glands.

This test uses a radioactive chemical to find problems with the parathyroid glands.

There are usually four parathyroid glands. They are located near the center of the neck behind the thyroid gland.

  • The parathyroid glands produce parathyroid hormone. This hormone helps control calcium levels in the blood and bone.
  • AHyperparathyroidism occurs when one or more of the parathyroid glands produce too much parathyroid hormone.
  • When there is too much parathyroid hormone, it can cause high levels of calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia).

A parathyroid scan uses a radioactive chemical (also called a tracer) to find problems with the parathyroid glands.

  • The tracer can be injected into a vein, taken by mouth, or inhaled as a gas.
  • After the parathyroid glands have absorbed the radioactive substance, radiation detectors are used to obtain images of the glands.
  • The images help determine whether problems are present.

A parathyroid scan may be recommended if your healthcare provider thinks you may have problems with your parathyroid glands. For example, there may be indications that one or more of your parathyroid glands are over-active.

    Tell the technician if you are nursing, pregnant or could be pregnant.

    • A parathyroid scan uses a special type of X-ray radiation. Therefore, extra precautions should be taken for pregnant and nursing mothers.
    • In some cases, other imaging studies may be appropriate (such as a CT or MRI scan).
    • You will need to stay still during the test so the technician can take clear images.

    The costs for this test include the charge for the test (facility charge) and physician charges (for performing or interpreting the test). You may get separate bills from the facility and the physician's office.

What should I ask my healthcare provider before having a parathyroid scan?

  • What is my diagnosis and reason for the test?
  • What are the possible side effects?
  • Are there any alternatives to this test?
  • What are the possible risks/complications?
  • How will I feel after the test?
  • What symptoms might indicate a problem after the test?
  • What other tests can be done instead of this test? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?
  • Are there any precautions I need to take after the test?

After your parathyroid scan, you should understand any home care instructions and follow-up plans.


Also known as:

Sestamibi Parathyroid Scan
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