Dr. Richard Guttler, Medical Director of the Thyroid Center of Santa Monica in California, explains step by step using how an ultrasound guided radio frequency ablation (RFA) of a benign thyroid nodule is performed safely as an outpatient procedure in his private medical clinic.

What is Radiofrequency (RF) Ablation?

A common practice in other countries, radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is finally now available in the United States. Developed over fifteen years ago, this non-surgical alternative shrinks the nodules without compromising thyroid function and helps avoid long recovery times of thyroid surgery.   
Using radio frequency waves, radiofrequency ablation cauterizes thyroid nodules and cysts. Performed under local anesthesia, radiofrequency ablation is relatively painless and does not require general anesthesia. Doctors use guided ultrasound to insert a thermal probe into the thyroid nodule. Through selective heating of the probe tip, the nodule is destroyed. The cauterized tissue is then broken down by the body.

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RF Medical Co Ltd manufactures advanced Radiofrequency Ablation Systems (RFA). RF Medical’s RF Ablation system are the only multi-purpose rf ablation generators in the world, having separate algorithms for soft tissue ablation in different tissue types such as liver ablation, kidney ablation, lung ablation, thyroid ablation, bone ablation, Myoma Ablation and many more. All radiofrequecy ablation generators have a user-friendly touch screen user interface and may be easily customized and upgraded according to the user’s needs.


  • Compatible with various electrode types
  • Various treatment algorithms in memory
  • 7” TFT LCD touch screen with smart UI
  • Advanced Self Test function
  • Easy PC Monitoring by USB
  • Easy S/W upgrade and data download by USB
  • Patient pad Monitoring System
  • Voice information system

How Effective Is This Procedure?

Clinical trials measured the rate of reduction, therapeutic success, changes in symptoms and cosmetic improvement of benign thyroid nodules.

For “cold” benign nodules (those that do not produce excess thyroid hormone), clinical trials have shown a mean reduction rate of 32.7 to 58.2% at one month, and 50.7 to 84.8% at six months. In most patients, nodule related symptoms and cosmetic problems also significantly improved or disappeared. In a long term follow-up study, radiofrequency ablation was effective over a four year period with the nodules consistently decreasing to 93.5%.

For “hot” benign thyroid nodules (those that do produce excess thyroid hormone) clinical trials have shown volume reduction rates of 52.6 to 70.7% at six months, and improved or normalized thyroid function in most patients. In a multi-center study, hyperthyroidism caused by “hot” nodules improved in all patients and was completely normalized in 81.8% of patients. This led to the conclusion that radiofrequency ablation can be considered an alternative to thyroid surgery or radioactive iodine therapy.

Information regarding RF Ablation (RFA) used as an in-office procedure

Dr. Jonathan Russell, Johns Hopkins

Dr. Ketal Patel, NYU

Animated video illustration of the rf ablation moving shot technique

Case Studies on Radio Frequency Ablation

Dr. Ralph Tufano, Johns Hopkins

Dr. Roberto Valcalvi

Interview with Dr. Kathleen Hands

Thyroid Center of South Texas

By RFA Patient Advocate Jennifer Cummins

RF Ablation

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