Radioiodine Ablation

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Radioiodine Ablation

Radioactive iodine ablation is a therapy that uses radioactive iodine to treat thyroid cancer by destroying any thyroid cells that may have escaped surgical removal.

Radioactive iodine uses a form of iodine that is radioactive. Iodine is normally concentrated by the thyroid gland and is used to make thyroid hormones. Radioactive iodine gives off beta and gamma rays (which have similar effects to x-rays) which reduce the activity of the thyroid gland.

What does the procedure involve?

During the procedure, the iodine (I-131) is administered by swallowing a small capsule. The iodine is taken up by the thyroid gland where the radiation dose concentrates in the thyroid cells and destroys them.

 Once you have swallowed the capsule, you become radioactive. This reduces naturally by half about every one to two days. You will need to stay in the hospital for a minimum of two days, depending on how quickly the radioactivity leaves your body. Usually, only one treatment is enough, although sometimes more than one is needed. The blood tests help decide.