Parathyroid Scan

What is a Parathyroid Scan?

A Parathyroid scan is used to localize abnormal hyper-functioning Parathyroid glands


There is no special preparation for the examination, and you may eat and drink normally before your appointment. You can take any medication as usual.


If you are pregnant or breastfeeding it is essential that you let us know before your appointment date. If you are a female of child bearing age (12-55 years old), you will be asked about your pregnancy and breastfeeding status. If you are unable to confirm you are not pregnant a pregnancy test may be performed.


All patients are entitled to have a chaperone present for any consultation, examination or procedure where they feel one is required.

The examination

Upon your arrival a radiographer will explain the procedure to you and will ask you a few questions about your health records. You will then have a small amount of radioactive tracer injected into a vein in your arm. The injected tracer is carried through the bloodstream to your parathyroid. It emits gamma rays which can be detected by a piece of equipment called a gamma camera.

You will be asked to drink a glass of water and wait as this will help to produce better quality images. You will lay on a scan table with the camera placed above your head/neck and a series of images are taken of your parathyroid glands. Your shoulders will be placed on a pillow and your neck extended. The machine is very quiet and you do not go through a tube or tunnel.

You do not need to undress for the examination, but you may need to remove any necklaces as these will interfere with the quality of the pictures.

How long will it take?

The administration of the tracer takes approximately 60-120 minutes. Between injection and scanning you have 10 minutes of waiting. The first set of images takes approximately 45 minutes and the second, 15 minutes. Further images will depend on the findings.