Answer to Question #7523 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"

Category: Nuclear Medicine Patient Issues — Diagnostic Nuclear Medicine

The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:

What is the risk of a thyroid scan for a 95-year-old and is it really needed if a thyroid blood test says the thyroid is okay?


There is no quantifiable risk to a person of any age from a thyroid scan.

A blood test tells you thyroid hormone levels. A thyroid scan uses a special camera to take an image of the distribution of the radioactive substance in and around the thyroid gland. This is interpreted by the nuclear medicine physician to evaluate thyroid function and to diagnose abnormalities. A blood test cannot rule out thyroid cancer, but a thyroid scan can.

Marcia Hartman, MS

Answer posted on 29 May 2008. The information posted on this web page is intended as general reference information only. Specific facts and circumstances may affect the applicability of concepts, materials, and information described herein. The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon in the absence of such professional advice. To the best of our knowledge, answers are correct at the time they are posted. Be advised that over time, requirements could change, new data could be made available, and Internet links could change, affecting the correctness of the answers. Answers are the professional opinions of the expert responding to each question; they do not necessarily represent the position of the Health Physics Society.