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Medical Imaging

Nuclear Medicine > Exams & Procedures > Thyroid Ablation Therapy

This procedure is employed as part of the treatment for thyroid cancer.


  • Many medications interfere with the results of this test. Please talk to your doctor about which medications to stop for this test and when to stop taking them.
  • Products high in iodine should not be eaten for one week before the test and until the test is complete. Excessive iodine in the body falsely lowers the results of this test. Do not eat or drink products that contain shellfish (lobster, crab, shrimp, etc), kelp products or supplements, or cough medicines for at least one week.
  • You should have no X-ray tests that use an iodine-based contrast dye within two to four weeks of this test.
  • You will be hospitalized usually for 48 hours in order to reduce radiation exposure to other people.
  • Bring a list of all medications and supplements you take. This includes vitamins, herbal remedies, and holistic medications.
  • Do not bring children or pregnant women with you to the department. We do not want to expose them to unnecessary radiation.
  • Any of these procedures is subject to change according to the nuclear medicine physician. The duration of the tests is a rough estimate. Please be aware that the time may be lengthened if a scan has to be repeated, if emergency cases are brought to the department or due to unforeseen circumstances.

About the Procedure

  • The procedure takes about 48 hours for therapy and one hour for pictures.
  • The doctor will come to your room and briefly explain the test to you and try to answer any questions you may have about the procedure.
  • Your doctor will give you a radioactive iodine therapy to kill off any thyroid tissue. You will come to the nuclear medicine department for pictures 10 days after being given the radioactive iodine.
  • The drink itself is colorless and tasteless. You might have a sore throat after the drink. You might also be prescribed thyroid hormone pills after the procedure. Please address your concerns with your doctor.
  • 10 days later you will come to the nuclear medicine department for pictures to monitor your condition.
  • You will be asked to lie down on an imaging bed.
  • Cameras will be positioned above and below you.
  • Pictures will be taken of your whole body for about 30 minutes.
  • Another picture will be taken using a zoom lens for about 10 minutes.