What’s the Best Treatment for My Hyperthyroidism?

Tuesday, 04 Jun 2013 10:00 AM

By Peter Hibberd, M.D.

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Question: Please is it better to use radioactive iodine or have surgery to cure hyperthyroidism?

Dr. Hibberd’s answer:
 
It’s probably safer to have a well-dosed iodine treatment and avoid surgery. Most patients elect to ablate their overactive gland with radioactive iodine. Skilled dosing will often leave you with some functioning tissue, making thyroid replacement less often necessary.
 
Also, iodine treatment allows you to avoid the risks associated with anesthesia and thyroid surgery. Discuss your options with your primary-care physician and surgeon, and you will need to weigh the individual pros and cons suitable for your case.
 
For instance, if you have a goiter that interferes with your ability to swallow, and it is not expected to regress sufficiently, surgery may be better for you. If you have a solitary nodule that can be removed without disturbing the rest of the gland, that may be better than exposing the entire thyroid to radioactive iodine, which does carry a small theoretical increased risk of exposure to radiation-induced changes. 
 

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