How long will I be hospitalized for the I-131, & what does the isolation include? When can I go back to work after the I-131? How soon after the I-131 can I have sex? How long do I need to avoid pregnancy?
Rachel Kelz, MD, MSCE, at Penn Medicine responds:
These questions are really import to address with your doctor who is actually familiar with your specific condition. Hospitalization for RAI is rare today. Unless you have specific medical or personal needs for isolation/hospitalization, most patients are treated in the outpatient setting. When hospitalized, the room is draped in plastic to avoid too much contamination and facilitate "clean-up" upon discharge. Most protocols involve 5 days of isolation although the time frame can vary by the dose that you receive and your medical conditions. If you visit the ATA website (www.thyroid.org) there are easy to read guidelines regarding isolation following radioactive iodine treatment.
This question and answer was part of OncoLink's Brown Bag Web Chat Series. View the entire transcript of Focus on Thyroid Cancer.