Radioactive Iodine Treatment

Radioactive iodine treatment is used to treat certain thyroid diseases and thyroid cancer. The procedure is done with a radioactive form of the element iodine. Radioactive iodine is taken up by the thyroid gland. There it treats thyroid disease by destroying the cells. The radioactivity is not spread to other parts of the body.

  • Call Your Doctor

    Call your doctor if any of these occur:

    • You have fever or chills
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Excessive fatigue
    • Worsening pain or swelling in the neck
    • You are not urinating even with adequate fluid intake
    • Tightness in throat or trouble breathing
    • Numbness in your ace
    • Rapid pulse

    If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

  • Definition

    Radioactive iodine treatment is used to treat certain thyroid diseases and thyroid cancer. The procedure is done with a radioactive form of the element iodine. Radioactive iodine is taken up by the thyroid gland. There it treats thyroid disease by destroying the cells. The radioactivity is not spread to other parts of the body.

    The Thyroid Gland
    IMAGE
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  • What to Expect

  • Reasons for Procedure

    It may be done to treat:

    • Hyperthyroidism—the thyroid gland is overactive

    • Certain types of
      cancers,
      such as
      thyroid cancer

  • Possible Complications

    Possible side effects and complications of radioactive iodine therapy include:

    • Inflammation of the salivary glands causing painful cheeks and dry mouth
    • Metallic taste in the mouth
    • Dry mouth
    • Sore throat
    • Pain in the neck
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Fatigue
    • Flushing
    • Tightness in throat
    • Abnormally high or abnormally low thyroid hormone levels

    Pregnant women are at an increased risk of complications. The procedure may be harmful to the fetus. It should not be done in pregnant women. Nursing mothers should stop breastfeeding for at least a week after the procedure.