What is a Total Body Survey?

This scan is for patients with persistent or recurrent thyroid cancer.

How should I prepare for a Total Body Survey?

If you are on thyroid medications there are two ways your doctor can prepare you for this test. They will either take you off of your thyroid medications 2-6 before your scan or you will be scheduled to have Thyrogen® injections the day prior and they day of capsule administration. Your doctor may also put you on a low iodine diet. You should also have no IV contrast for at least 4 weeks prior to this scan. You should have nothing to eat for 1 hour prior to and post capsule administration.

How long does the test take?

This scan requires two visits to the Nuclear Medicine Department in order to complete this test. On your first visit you will be given a capsule to swallow. This capsule is a small amount of a radioactive isotope. There are no side effects and you have no restrictions after taking the capsule. You will then be allowed to leave the department with a scheduled time to return the following morning. When you return to our department you will be asked to remove all external metal from your body and the technologist will scan you from head to mid-thigh. This scan takes about 20 minutes. It is possible, that the technologist will take another set of images called a SPECT/CT.

This is a tomographic scan combined with a non-diagnostic CT used for attenuation correction and takes about 25 minutes. Typically most patients have an appointment with their Endocrinologist following this scan. Your doctor may talk with you about having a radioactive iodine treatment and if so, you will have to return to the Nuclear Medicine Department to receive that treatment.

How soon will the results be available?

A radiologist will interpret the images, write a report, and deliver the results to your doctor via the internal computer system. This process usually takes less than 24 hours.

It is essential to tell your doctor if you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant before undergoing this scan because of radiation exposure.

Reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy