I-131 Hyperthyroid Treatment

What is an I-131 hyperthyroid treatment?

An I-131 hyperthyroid treatment is used to treat an overactive thyroid gland or Graves' disease.

What should you do prior to your child's treatment?

Your child cannot have anything to eat or drink two hours prior to the treatment.

Your child should maintain a low iodine diet as specified by the ordering physician. Your child should not eat fish or seafood, added salt, frozen or canned foods, seaweed or kelp.

Note: Parents will be allowed to accompany their child into the exam room. It may be helpful to make other arrangements for siblings.

What should you expect during the treatment?

The technologist will explain the treatment to you and your child and will ask you to sign a consent form. Your child will then be given a radioactive iodine capsule that helps to lower the function of the overactive thyroid gland. The Thyroid Uptake and Scan study must be taken before this treatment; that's how we determine the amount of iodine to use.

Your child’s endocrinologist will follow up after the treatment. In some cases, a second treatment is necessary six to 12 months later.

A serum pregnancy test is required for all female patients 10 and older. The test is done within 24 hours of the treatment but after the 24-hour images from the Thyroid Uptake and Scan are performed. The Nuclear Medicine technologist will make sure you and your child know where to go for this test. Treatments cannot be given without this requirement being met.

If you’d like, our child life specialists will help you prepare and support your child during the procedure. We can also arrange to have a child life specialist at your child's appointment to explain the procedure in developmentally appropriate ways and to help your child better cope with the stress of the hospital experience.

What should you do after the exam

Before treatment, we will give you instructions about what activities are allowed afterward.  The Nuclear Medicine Physician will be available on the day of treatment for questions or concerns.

The nuclear medicine physician will also talk with you about possible side effects of the treatment.