An ultrasound exam is used to assess and measure the appearance and size of the thyroid gland. Nodules or cysts (hollow spaces filled with fluid) can be detected, evaluated, and measured.
Thyroid scintigraphy is used to take functional images of the thyroid. This makes use of the principle that cells with higher metabolic activity (e.g., hot nodules) will take up larger amounts of a radioactive substance than cells with lower activity (e.g., cold nodules.) In these highly active regions, relatively greater amounts of radiation are released than in other regions. Cold nodules have a disproportionately higher risk of tumors, while hot nodules are often evident from their changes in metabolism.
In addition to these two imaging examination methods, the so-called thyroid levels (including FT3, FT4, and TSH) are measured in the blood, as well as important antibodies such as TPO or TRAK. This procedure can reliably detect thyroid enlargement and functional problems (hyper- and hypothyroid) and identify their causes.
Once the size and function of the thyroid gland have been checked, if necessary the nuclear medicine physician will develop a specific therapy suggestion for you, discuss it with you, and send it to your general practitioner. If necessary, a fine-needle puncture of the thyroid can be performed in the thyroid outpatient unit in order to precisely evaluate the tissue.