St Vincent's Clinic Medical Imaging & Nuclear Medicine
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Iodine 131 Therapy

Iodine 131 Therapy uses radioactive iodine to treat thyroid conditions such as thyrotoxicosis, hyperthyroidism, Graves’ disease and nodular goitres (toxic and non-toxic).

Prior to receiving Iodine 131 Therapy you will be required to attend a consultation appointment at the St Vincent’s Clinic Nuclear Medicine department and also undergo a Nuclear Medicine Thyroid Uptake scan.

What will happen when you have your consultation appointment?

Prior to receiving Iodine 131 Therapy you will be required to attend a consultation appointment with the Nuclear Medicine Technologist and Consultant Nuclear Medicine SpecialistĀ  to discuss the therapy procedure, radiation safety precautions and alleviate any concerns you may have.

Some of the radiation safety precautions to discuss include but are not limited to, method of transport post therapy, place of residence and suitability of returning to work post therapy, whether infants and young children residing with you may require alternate care, conception restrictions, pregnancy and breastfeeding.

This consultation will take approximately 1hour.

What will happen when you have your Thyroid Uptake scan?

You may be required to undergo a Nuclear Medicine Thyroid Uptake scan. This scan is used to calculate how much radioactive iodine is required to treat your thyroid condition.

To perform the scan you will be injected with a radioactive tracer into a vein in your arm. After 20 minutes images will be taken of your Thyroid for 15-20minutes.

This scan will take approximately 45-60minutes.

You will not be required to undress for the scan. The scan will be performed using a gamma camera close to your body but you will not go through a tunnel.

What will happen when you have your Iodine 131 Therapy?

After the consultation and Thyroid Uptake scan you may undergo the Iodine 131 Therapy.

If you do not need to make alternate arrangements in light of the radiation safety precautions discussed during the consultation appointment (such as childcare or private transport for patients travelling long distances) and wish for the therapy to be performed as soon as possible, it will take 2-3hours for the therapy capsule to be delivered. Alternatively, an appointment can be scheduled for another date in the near future.

When you arrive in the Nuclear Medicine department for the Iodine 131 Therapy you will be givenĀ  documentation regarding therapy information, contact details and radiation safety precautions. It is important to confirm all details and resolve all queries prior to receiving the therapy dose.

Therapy is simple and you will be administered a capsule to swallow with water.

You are then able to leave the department via the approved form of transport to the approved residence predetermined during the consultation appointment.

What you need to do and how to prepare for the test?

  • You will need a referral from your doctor
  • You will need an appointment for this procedure
  • Please inform staff at time of booking if you are, or could be pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Please inform booking staff at time of booking if you have had a CT scan with oral or intravenous contrast within the past 6weeks
  • Please inform booking staff at time of booking all of your current prescription and non-prescription medications and supplements
  • Please inform booking staff at time of booking if you intend on using long distance transport (1.5hours or more) to and from the appointment
  • Please bring any previous relevant Thyroid Ultrasound, blood tests or Nuclear Medicine Thyroid Uptake scans to your consultation and therapy appointment if available. If you have had a very recent Nuclear Medicine Thyroid Uptake scan you may not be required to have another at the appointment. Please bring the scan and results with you and this will be discussed during your consultation appointment
  • If you are female and of child bearing age (up to 55years) you will be required to undertake a pregnancy blood test within 24hours prior to the Iodine 131 therapy being administered. Please bring this result with you to the appointment
  • If you have infants or young children residing with you it may be necessary to organise childcare for up to 48hours after therapy has been administered. This will be discussed with you during the consultation appointment
  • You will be required to settle your account for the Iodine 131 Therapy at registration, prior to the capsule being administered. This is to avoid undue radiation exposure to our reception staff.
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