Radioactive Iodine I-131 (also called Radioiodine I-131) therapy is a treatment for two thyroid related medical conditions - overactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) and thyroid cancer. Hyperthyroidism can be caused by Graves' 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.
When a small dose of I-131 is swallowed, it is absorbed into the bloodstream in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and absorbed from the blood by the thyroid gland, where it begins destroying the gland's cells. The I-131 we provide at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital is in capsule form. It is approximately the size of a large vitamin.
If your doctor feels that a Radioactive iodine I-131 therapy is right for you, you will be counseled on the risks and benefits of the procedure in detail with staff who are specially trained in the use of I-131 therapy and certain radiation protection measures that should be followed for this type of procedure. The procedure itself is done on an outpatient basis at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital and only takes a few minutes to complete.