This is a test which shows the function and appearance of the parathyroid glands.  A specialised camera is used to take pictures (scans) of your parathyroid glands.

How to Prepare?

Take all of your usual medications. 

There is no need to fast for any part of (or during) the parathyroid scan.

The test is not usually performed in pregnant women, so if you know that you are (or think you might be) pregnant, please inform us before the test begins. If you are breastfeeding, please inform us before your appointment date, so that the appropriate instructions can be given.

What to Expect?

After the test is explained to you, a technologist will inject a small dose of a radioactive compound called Sestamibi. You will be required to wait 10 minutes after which time the technologist will take you into the scanning room and will commence your pictures. The pictures or scan will take

up to 30 minutes and will be repeated at 2 hours and occasionally 4 hours after the injection.

A Thyroid scan is usually required at the completion of the last set of pictures. This requires a similar injection of a radioactive compound followed by pictures on a specialised camera, taking 30 minutes in total. The total time for the test is 3-5 hours.

There are no side effects or reactions from the injection. The injection does NOT contain iodine and is therefore safe to give even if you have had a previous allergic reaction to contrast injections. Although you will be required to keep still during the scan, the procedure itself is completely painless. There is no need to hold your breath during the test.


In general, the scans and results are sent to your doctor the next working day. Depending on the type of scan you are having (and the clinical urgency), you may be able to take the scan with you in some cases, however there will be a delay while the report is typed.

You can drive home after the scan. You will not be drowsy in any way.

Please remember to bring your requesting letter and any recent X-rays or CT scans. At the time of your appointment, report to North Shore Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, which is located on the ground floor of North Shore Private Hospital in Westbourne St. 

If you have any questions please phone North Shore Radiology and Nuclear Medicine on 8425 3684. We will be happy to answer any queries that you may have.

Additional Information