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Thyroid Disease: How Nuclear Medicine Can Help

hyroid Disease: How Nuclear Medicine Can Help

About 20 million Americans currently have some form of thyroid disease. If you’re one of those 20 million people, you might be wondering how nuclear medicine 一 particularly radioisotope therapy 一 can play a crucial role in diagnosis and treatment. 

The answer lies in the powerful capabilities of nuclear medicine techniques used here at Excel Diagnostics & Nuclear Oncology Center.

Here's how it can help you:

Nuclear medicine leads to accurate diagnosis through imaging

If you're experiencing thyroid-related symptoms such as fatigue, weight changes, or neck discomfort, nuclear medicine imaging can offer a precise diagnosis. Through imaging tests such as thyroid scans your Excel Diagnostics team can visualize the size, shape, and function of your thyroid gland. 

During your scan, the Excel team injects radioactive iodine into a vein. Because the radioactive compounds show up on the imaging, they can make a diagnosis depending on whether the images highlight specific nodules or your entire thyroid. This detailed information is essential for determining whether thyroid disease is present and what type it may be. 

Nuclear medicine sheds light on thyroid function

Understanding your thyroid's function is critical in managing thyroid disease. Nuclear medicine uses radioactive tracers to measure thyroid hormone production accurately. This helps your referring provider determine whether your thyroid is overactive (hyperthyroidism) or underactive (hypothyroidism). 

The results of your test shape your treatment plan

In cases where your thyroid disease requires treatment, nuclear medicine continues to be a valuable tool. Radioactive iodine therapy, a common treatment for hyperthyroidism or thyroid cancer, utilizes nuclear medicine. Targeting and destroying overactive thyroid tissue or cancer cells helps restore thyroid function or eliminate malignant cells.

Here at Excel Diagnostics, we offer I-131 radiotherapy 一 an isotope of iodine that emits radiation for therapeutic purposes. This treatment may be used for hyperthyroidism as well as thyroid cancer. If you have thyroid cancer, you may first have your thyroid removed before undergoing I-131 radiotherapy. Once your thyroid is removed, the radiotherapy destroys any remaining cancerous tissue.

Nuclear medicine can help monitor cancer treatments 

If you have thyroid cancer, ongoing monitoring is crucial, and nuclear medicine can help by tracking the progression of the disease. Radioactive iodine scans can detect any remaining cancer cells or metastases and allow for timely intervention and treatment adjustments if necessary.

Nuclear medicine allows for minimally invasive treatments 

Nuclear medicine procedures are typically noninvasive and involve minimal discomfort. They offer a safer and less invasive alternative to surgical interventions, making them a preferred choice for many thyroid disease assessments and treatments.

Questions about thyroid disease and nuclear medicine?

To sum it up, nuclear medicine helps with thyroid disease by providing clear diagnoses and helping to shape the treatment plans. Nuclear medicine provides:

Most importantly, nuclear medicine empowers your referring provider to offer tailored care that addresses your specific needs. 

If you suspect thyroid issues or require ongoing management, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 713-781-6200 and learn how nuclear medicine can play a vital role in your thyroid health journey. You can also use our online form to schedule your appointment at our Houston, Texas, office.

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