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Thyroid Ablation


What is thyroid ablation?

Thyroid ablation is a procedure to decrease the function of some or all of your thyroid gland. Your thyroid makes hormones that help control your body temperature, heart rate, and growth. The hormones also control how fast your body uses food for energy.

Thyroid and Parathyroid Glands

How do I prepare for thyroid ablation?

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for your procedure. He may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your procedure. He will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your procedure.

How is thyroid ablation done?

You will be given radioactive iodine to drink or as a pill to swallow. This medicine damages cells in your thyroid gland and decreases the amount of thyroid hormone in your blood. If you cannot swallow the medicine, it will be put through an IV tube into a vein in your arm.

What safety measures may be needed after thyroid ablation?

Do the following for as long as directed:

  • Stay 6 to 7 feet away from others to prevent exposing them to the radiation inside you.
  • Sleep in a different room than your partner for 2 to 3 days after your procedure.
  • Drink more liquid so you do not become dehydrated. Adults should drink about 9 to 13 cups of liquid each day. One cup is 8 ounces.
  • Flush your toilet 2 to 3 times after you go to the bathroom.
  • Wash your hands often and rinse the sink afterward.
  • Wash your clothes and dishes separately from clothes and dishes of others.

What are the risks of thyroid ablation?

You may be allergic to radioactive iodine. Your thyroid may no longer function and you may need thyroid medicine for the rest of your life. You may have swelling in your face and neck. You may have eye dryness, headache, nausea and vomiting, trouble swallowing, taste changes, and dental cavities. A condition called thyroid storm may occur if too much thyroid hormone is released into your body. A thyroid storm may cause high fever, fast heartbeat, high blood pressure, and may be life-threatening.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.