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Um. It's FICTION.
Don't yell at me..
then why all the research? you are either going to have your audience suspend disbelief completely or you are going to make it as close to realistic as possible. You can't just pick an choose as you go.
Radioactive iodine is what is used to destroy thyroid tissue left over after a thyroidectomy. Anyone who knows that (and it's not uncommon knowledge) will pick it up immediately.
you want a device.. if it's fiction, then create one. Call it a geigermonitor and have it work by sending microwaves to its target.
I am, however, a published writer and am currently being treated for thyroid cancer.