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Radioiodine Therapy (I-131)

Radioactive Iodine (I-131) therapy is a treatment for an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) and nuclear medicine is a branch of medical imaging that uses a small amount of radioactive material to diagnose or treat a variety of diseases. When a small dose of I-131 is swallowed it is absorbed into the bloodstream in the gastrointestinal tract and concentrated from the blood by the thyroid gland, where it begins destroying the gland's cells. It may also be used to treat thyroid cancer.

Your doctor may recommend Radioiodine Therapy for: treatment of an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) which can be caused by Grave's disease, in which the entire thyroid gland is overactive, or by nodules within the gland which are locally overactive in producing too much thyroid hormone.

For Radioiodine Therapy, the radioiodine I-131 is swallowed in a single dose, in capsule or liquid form, and is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and concentrated from the blood by the thyroid gland, where it begins destroying the gland's cells. Although the radioactivity from this treatment remains in the thyroid for some time, it is greatly diminished within a few days. The effect of this treatment on the thyroid gland usually takes between one and three months to develop, with maximum benefit occurring three to six months after treatment. Usually, a single dose is successful in treating hyperthyroidism. However, rarely, a second treatment is needed.

For Physicians

External cameras capture internal images emitted by radiopharmaceuticals to detect and track disease.

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