- Effect: damages the thyroid cells that make thyroid
hormone. This is the most common permanent treatment of hyperthyroidism in the
- During pregnancy, radioactive iodine may destroy fetal thyroid tissue.
- Breastfeeding women may pass radioactive iodine through breast milk.
- A six month waiting period before pregnancy is suggested after therapy.
- Most patients treated become hypothyroid and require lifelong thyroid
hormone replacement therapy
- Elderly patients and cardiac patients have increased risk of 131I-(radioactive
Surgical Interventions for Hyperthyroidism
For the patient with an overactive nodule(s) of a toxic adenoma or toxic
- Removal of part of thyroid gland containing overactive nodule. The entire
thyroid may be removed if there are multiple, bilateral overactive nodules or
if the goiter is enlarged.
For the patient with generalized overactive thyroid gland of Graves' disease:
- Removal of entire thyroid gland.
Risks of thyroid surgery
- Most patients will remain euthyroid (having normal thyroid function) after
- Patients will become hypothyroid after total thyroidectomy and require thyroid hormone
- There is a small risk of recurrent hyperthyroidism if a large amount of
remaining thyroid gland is left after the surgery.
- There is a small risk of damage to structures near the thyroid, including
the nerve to the voice box, and the glands that regulate calcium levels in the
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/1/2016
Stephanie L Lee, MD, PhD, FACE
Sonia Ananthakrishnan, MD
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