Toxic Adenoma other imaging findings

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] ; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Aditya Ganti M.B.B.S. [2]


Radionuclide imaging and quantitative radioisotopic uptake studies are always required to establish the diagnosis of toxic adenoma or toxic nodular goiter. Radionuclide imaging can be performed with radioactive iodine-123 or with technetium-99m. In patients with hyperthyroidism caused by a toxic adenoma, there is a characteristic restriction of radionuclide uptake to the responsible hyperfunctioning nodule with suppression of radionuclide uptake in the remainder of the gland.

Other Imaging Findings

Differential for thyrotoxicosis Fractional Uptake

of Radioactive Iodine in

24 hrs (%)

Radioactive iodine


Graves’ disease 40-95 Diffuse

(Homogeneous within thyroid)

Toxic adenoma 20-60 Restricted to autonomous regions in thyroid
Subacute thyroiditis <2 minimal uptake
Silent thyroiditis <2 minimal uptake
Iodine-induced thyrotoxicosis <2 minimal uptake
Factitious or

iatrogenic thyrotoxicosis

<2 minimal uptake
Struma ovarii <2 Uptake in ovary
Follicular carcinoma <2 Uptake in cancer metastasis
Thyroid-stimulating hormone–induced thyrotoxicosis 30-80 Diffuse

(Homogeneous within thyroid)


  1. Hurley PJ, Maisey MN, Natarajan TK, Wagner HN (1972). "A computerized system for rapid evaluation of thyroid function". J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 34 (2): 354–60. doi:10.1210/jcem-34-2-354. PMID 4110446.
  2. Smith JR, Oates E (2004). "Radionuclide imaging of the thyroid gland: patterns, pearls, and pitfalls". Clin Nucl Med. 29 (3): 181–93. PMID 15162989.
  3. Bianco AC, Anderson G, Forrest D, Galton VA, Gereben B, Kim BW, Kopp PA, Liao XH, Obregon MJ, Peeters RP, Refetoff S, Sharlin DS, Simonides WS, Weiss RE, Williams GR (2014). "American Thyroid Association Guide to investigating thyroid hormone economy and action in rodent and cell models". Thyroid. 24 (1): 88–168. doi:10.1089/thy.2013.0109. PMC 3887458. PMID 24001133.