Timing of Radioactive Iodine (RAI) After Surgery

OncoLink
Last Modified: August 14, 2012

Question

If it is cancer and I need radioactive iodine, how long after surgery is that done? And is there a sort of time limit to how long you can wait and it still be helpful?

Answer

Kolin Hoff, MD, Endocrinologist at Penn Medicine responds:

In most cases radioiodine if needed is given 6-8 weeks after surgery but in some cases longer or shorter based on availability of drugs like thyrogen and the patients schedule. Radioiodine can be given even months after surgery. If longer than 1 year you should be re-evaluated for the need for RAI.

This question and answer was part of OncoLink's Brown Bag Web Chat Series. View the entire transcript of Focus on Thyroid Cancer.

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