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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

What Is It?

There are two types of thyroid nuclear medicine tests. Both assess the health of your thyroid, a gland in your neck. The first type, a thyroid scan, produces a picture of the gland. It can spot lumps or inflammation, or to investigate the cause of an overactive thyroid. The second type, a radioactive iodine uptake test, is performed to see if your thyroid is functioning normally and to determine why thyroid hormone levels may be elevated. For both types of test, a small amount of a weakly radioactive substance, known as a radionuclide, is either injected into a vein or given to you as a pill.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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