131 Iodine Treatment

What is a 131 Iodine Treatment?

Radioactive iodine is a common well-accepted form for treating hyperthyroidism, cardiac dysfunction or thyroid carcinoma. The thyroid gland accumulates the radioactive iodine. The radiation given off by this form of iodine decreases the function of the thyroid cells and inhibits their ability to grow. This is the desired medical effect and the reason you will be given this treatment.

How do I prepare for this treatment?

Women of childbearing age (13-50) will be requested to have a pregnancy test completed prior to treatment. Your physician will order this exam.

What will happen during this exam?

The physician treating you will explain the procedure and expected outcome of this therapy with you. You will be asked to sign a consent form. The treatment is given in the form of one capsule for you to swallow.

How long will the procedure take?

Plan on being in the department for 15-30 minutes.

After you leave the hospital…

Safeguards to help minimize radiation exposure to your family and the general public are necessary. By adhering to the following guidelines, you can avoid unnecessary exposure to individuals around you. The radioiodine will only be in your body in insignificant amounts for the first 48 hours.

Minimal exposure to others can be accomplished by following these guidelines:

*It is recommended that female patients protect against pregnancy for six (6) months after treatment.

*Maintain a reasonable distance from others at home or at work (approximately 3-6 feet) for the first 48-hours, except for short periods.  This is especially important if you are in regular contact with children or pregnant women.

*Do not hold children for more than a brief period.

*Do not allow small children to sleep in the same bed with you.

*Wash or dispose of any utensils or material that comes in contact with your mouth or body fluids.

*Avoid kisses for 48 hours.

*Refrain from sexual intimacy for 48 hours and if possible it is best to sleep alone for this period.

*Suspend breastfeeding.

*Wash hands after using the rest room and double flush the toilet.

*Nasal excretions may contain radioactivity. Do not use handkerchiefs. Dispose of tissue in the toilet and flush.

*Avoid high security areas where radiation monitors may be present.

What will happen after the exam?

The treating physician will dictate a report that will be forwarded to your physician.


131 Iodine Whole Body Scan

What is a 131 Iodine Whole Body Scan?

The 131 iodine diagnostic scan is performed following the diagnosis and surgical treatment of papillary or follicular thyroid carcinoma. Images are taken of the whole body - front and back.

How do I prepare for the exam?

Women of childbearing age (13-50) will be requested to have a pregnancy test done before receiving radioactive iodine. Patients must be off all thyroid medication for an adequate period of time and your physician will discuss this with you.

What will happen during this exam?

Day one – you will receive a diagnostic capsule of radioactive iodine.

Day two or three – you will return for the whole body scan 48–72 hours after receiving the radioactive capsule. Pictures will be taken from head to toe. You will lie comfortable on the scanning table.

How long will the procedure take?

Day one – 15 minutes

Day two - 2-3 hours.

What will happen after the exam?

The radiologist will interpret the images and forward a report to your physician.


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