How is radioiodine therapy administered for the treatment of papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC)?

Updated: Jun 18, 2020
  • Author: Ponnandai S Somasundar, MD, MPH, FACS; Chief Editor: Neetu Radhakrishnan, MD  more...
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Answer

After thyroidectomy, patients are given thyroid replacement therapy for approximately 4-6 weeks. Thyroid replacement is then discontinued, to induce a hypothyroid state and promote high serum thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels.

A diagnostic dose of radioiodine (131I or 123I) is then given, and a whole-body scintiscan is performed to detect any tissue taking up radioiodine. If any normal thyroid remnant or metastatic disease is detected, a therapeutic dose of 131I is administered to ablate the tissue. The patient is then placed back on thyroid hormone replacement (levothyroxine) therapy.


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