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Nuclear Medicine

Whole Body Scan 

A Whole Body Scan (WBS) is a scan performed in nuclear medicine.  This scan is done to check for the return or spread of thyroid cancer cells.

How do I Prepare for this Test?
• Prior to the scan, you will receive two injections of Thyrogen (thyrotropin alfa) from a registered nurse in the Endocrinology Department.  Having Thyrogen in your body enhances the sensitivity of the I123 Whole Body Scan and allows you to stay on your thyroid hormone. Thyrogen is a protein similar to natural TSH.  These two injections will be given 24 hours apart, on Monday and Tuesday of the week of your scan. 
• On Wednesday, you will go to the Nuclear Medicine Department and will be given a radiotracer of 1mCi I-123 sodium iodide to swallow.  You must not have anything to eat or drink for 4 hours prior to the capsule, and for 1 hour after the capsule is given.
• On Thursday, you will return to the Nuclear Medicine Department for your scan.
• You may be asked to avoid foods and medicines that contain iodine for 10 days before the scan. The low iodine diet will reduce your body's storage of iodine allowing any remaining thyroid cells to absorb the iodine given to you before the procedure. You should speak with your ordering physician regarding dietary restrictions.
• Please notify the ordering physician if you have had other x-rays or scans within a month of your I123 WBS. Other radiology procedures may use iodine that could interfere with your scan.
• You will be asked to go to the lab on Friday and have a Thyroglobulin (Tg) drawn. Thyroglobulin is a protein that is found in your blood and used to screen for the recurrence of thyroid cancer.

What to Expect During the Whole Body Scan?
• The technologist will position you on the table in Nuclear Medicine. 
• The scanning will begin and the technologist will give you instructions throughout the scan.

Testing Time
• Please allow 2-3 hours in the Nuclear Medicine Department

Risks of the Test
• Be sure to notify the nurse and technologist if there is any chance you may be pregnant.

Following the Test
• There are no restrictions following this test. You may return to your regular diet after the scan is complete.

Results of this Test
• Your primary care doctor and your endocrinologist will receive the results in 24-48 hours.  It is important to discuss the results of your scan with your doctor. Please make a follow up appointment with the ordering physician.