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Radioiodine therapy

Radioiodine therapy is a nuclear medicine procedure to treat different kinds of thyroid diseases. It is considered a [non-invasive] gentle alternative to surgery. Radioiodine therapy is used in different types of thyroid hyperfunction (hyperthyroidism), e.g. Basedow’s disease), autonomic dysfunction of the thyroid gland (e.g. autonomous adenoma) or certain kinds of thyroid cancer (papillary or follicular carcinoma). An enlarged thyroid gland (goitre) can also be treated with this therapy.

In radioiodine therapy, radioactive iodine 131 is administered. The advantage is that the substance is absorbed only by the thyroid gland and only acts there.

If the thyroid gland had to be resected /removed surgically because of a carcinoma, it is common to perform a radioiodine therapy approximately three weeks later. This allows to remove remaining healthy thyroid tissue and the destruction of the remaining malignant tissue.


Examination and therapy

Based on the results of the preliminary examination (blood examination, ultrasound and scintigraphy of the thyroid gland) it is decided whether radioiodine therapy is indicated.

If so, you will stay as inpatient at the DKD Helios Clinic. Radioactive iodine will be given to you in the form of one or more small capsules after a radio iodine test has been made in advance. The dose is calculated individually and the substance is well tolerated. Only a few patients noticed a slight sore throat, which disappears after a few days.

Over the next days the radioactivity of your thyroid gland will be measured. If it has decayed to a certain value, we can discharge, usually after three to seven days.
During your stay, you are not allowed to receive visits, due to radiation protection reasons. You are also not allowed to leave the station. However, you have regular contact with doctors, nurses and of course other patients. There is also a telephone, TV and internet connection (WLAN) at your disposal.


Preparation before and after the examination

Some patients must take a thyroid hormone before therapy. You will be informed if you need to take the hormone when arranging the appointment.

Please avoid the intake of larger amounts of iodine before therapy (for example in contrast medium or in the medicine amiodarone).

Usually, the stay at the hospital is about three to seven days.

The therapeutic effect usually occurs only after a few weeks. Therefore, follow-up examinations are necessary after the radioiodine therapy. These examinations can be made at our practice or at your treating physicians’ practice.

Please do not hesitate to contact us, if you have any further questions!