Parathyroid Scan Information Sheet

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What is a Parathyroid Scan?

The parathyroid glands are normally a little smaller than a grain of rice, and there are four of them in your neck, very close to your thyroid. The scan shows us the size, shape, and location of any parathyroid tissue. It is useful in assessing whether one or more of your parathyroid glands is overactive, or if there is extra tissue in your upper chest, which can sometimes happen.

What preparation is required?

There is no specific preparation for this test – you do not need to fast, or skip any medications.

What happens during the test?

There are three parts to every Parathyroid Scan.

PART 1: You will be given a small injection of a radioactive tracer, into a vein in your arm.

WAIT: There is a 20-30min wait for the tracer to be absorbed

PART 2: We will take some images of your neck and chest for about 10min, showing the initial uptake of the tracer

WAIT: There is a 2hr wait for the tracer to wash out of many areas of your neck. The tracer becomes trapped in the parathyroid glands, and they are much clearer on delayed images

PART 3: We take more images of your neck and chest for about 30min, including 3D images.

Are there any side effects?

There are no side effects from the tracer injection, and no restrictions following the test. You will be able to continue with your usual daily activities. The amount of radiation used is quite small.

How long will the test take?

Please allow 1hr for the first 2 parts of the test. When you return for Part 3, please allow 45min.

Can I have this test while I am pregnant or breast feeding?

Your doctors may have requested that you undergo this examination while you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Your doctors will have considered and discussed the risks and benefits of having the scan to the health of both you and your baby.

As part of the procedure you will be given the opportunity to further discuss any concerns that you may have including the potential risks and benefits with one of our staff members.

This examination may have been deemed suitable for you to undergo while you are breastfeeding. You will need to cease breastfeeding for 12 hours following the administration of the radiotracer. It is advised that you express and discard your breast milk during this period. You may resume routine breast feeding after 12 hours. Further information may be obtained from the staff member performing your scan.


If you are / could be pregnant OR are breast-feeding please call us to discuss your options.

It is important to bring any previous test results and your Medicare card with you Please feel free to call us on 6244 2439 if you have any questions or to reschedule.


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