I 131 Whole Body Scan

An I131 whole body scan uses a radioactive substance (or tracer) to evaluate patients with thyroid cancer for residual thyroid tissue.

Before Your Procedure

  • Tell your physician if you are pregnant or nursing.
  • Your physician will instruct you to follow a low iodine diet and which of your thyroid medications you should stop taking.
  • Do not eat or drink anything for 2 hours prior to the initial appointment.

During Your Procedure

  • This procedure is done in 2 stages.

The First Day:

  • You will be asked to swallow a capsule containing a small amount of radioactive iodine. There are no side effects from the capsule. The thyroid tissue absorbs iodine and will absorb the radioactive tracer. Your body usually eliminates any excess tracer within 24 hours. The radiation you are exposed to with the ingested radioactive substance is less than most X-ray procedures.
  • The first day visit will take about 15 minutes.

Two Days Later:

  • You will return for a 1 hour scan.
  • You will be positioned on a table and a special camera will scan your body. The camera senses the radioactive substance taken previously and displays and stores this information on a computer.
  • Length of the scan is about 1 hour.

After Your Procedure

  • Your doctor will be contacted with the results of your test and will discuss the results with you.

Providing safe, quality patient care is our highest priority. To help ensure quality and safety, we ask that you do not bring young children with you to your appointments, as children are not allowed to accompany you during Imaging procedures. Staff is unable to monitor your child in your absence.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your provider.

Back to Imaging Patient Instructions

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

CentraCare care givers have been working around the clock for more than 20 months to care for you, your families and friends during COVID. We are committed to caring for every Minnesotan who needs us, and nothing will prevent us from doing so – even during these never-seen-before times.

The challenge of providing this level of care is that our hospital beds are often full. ERs in all of our hospitals are packed. And our clinical teams are exhausted. Early in the pandemic, our community stepped up in amazing ways to help us. We ask that you again join us in fighting this pandemic together.

How can you help?

  • Please get your COVID vaccines and booster shots. They are proven safe and effective in reducing COVID illness, keeping people out of the hospital, and preventing death.
  • If your situation is not an emergency, please use other care options, including:
  • If this is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1, or visit the ER.

Together, we can do this. Thank you for your support.

Ken Holmen, MD
President and CEO