Let’s learn about the Recovery After Thyroid Radio Frequency Ablation. Hyperthyroidism and dependence on methimazole therapy can be eliminated after thyroid radio frequency ablation. Several studies have demonstrated the efficacy and safety of RFA for treating benign and some cancerous thyroid nodules.
However, recovery timelines and protocols are natural a question that patients and surgeons have when evaluating any type of medical therapy.
So, whether you’re a patient with pre-toxic or toxic thyroid nodules or a doctor looking to learn more about how to treat them, keep reading. That way, you can be better equipped to determine if this therapy is appropriate for you or your patients going forward.
Luckily, radio frequency ablation for thyroid nodules promotes a faster recovery time compared to invasive surgery like a thyroidectomy, with same-day recovery common.
Your physician will place an ice pack on your neck right after the procedure. This will minimize pain and swelling at the injection site. You may have some slight discomfort or bruising, which can be handled with pain medications.
Typically, this minor discomfort will resolve in two or three days post-procedure. Most thyroid ablation does not require a general anesthetic. A local anesthetic will be used to numb the area in which the surgeon will operate.
That being said, if you do require sedation, you should arrange for someone you know to help drive you home from the clinic after the therapy. Otherwise, you may need to wait until the sedation medication dissipates. As soon as the following day, you can get back to work and resume your normal daily activities.
Expect a severe reduction in the nodule size within months of the treatment. But now, let’s talk more about nodule shrinkage and what to expect post-therapy.
The Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism performed a 2015 study. In that study, they found that after six months, the average thyroid volume after undergoing RFA reduced by 64.8%.
Every patient also reported improved cosmetic qualities. Compare this to large scarring, anti-scar creams, and complications resulting from invasive thyroidectomies, and the difference in the recovery process is clear.
Large studies have been done on the reduction possibilities of RFA for thyroid nodules. A comparative study found that laser surgery only reduced VRR by 45% after 24 months. Comparatively, RFA reduced thyroid nodules by 87% after 24 months.
This is almost double for RF ablation. Furthermore, compressive symptoms and cosmetic concerns were reduced, according to the study.
In 2021, Current Otorhinolaryngology Reports claimed that RFA will play a major role in reducing the number of patients that require surgery to manage their thyroid disease or enlarged thyroid nodules. They found a significant reduction in size and improved clinical symptoms, as well.
An important aspect of recovery to consider for patients and doctors is the risk of health complications. However, no major complications or hospitalizations were discovered after a major study looked at patients undergoing thyroid radiofrequency ablation.
In fact, 79% of those patients resolved their hyperthyroidism and stopped methimazole therapy. Of the patients with pre-toxic thyroid nodules, 100% of the patients no longer had hyperthyroidism.
Furthermore, 88% of the patients no longer had compressive symptoms. They also reported reduced pain, providing for an easier recovery and significantly increasing quality of life.
Since RFA therapy is an outpatient procedure, the recovery time is minimal, and the procedure itself can be very short.
Your surgeon will begin with a local anesthetic. This will numb the area for the tiny puncture that allows the electrode probe to ablate your thyroid. Often a grounding pad will be used to prevent harmful electrical charges. Afterward, the physician will use a needle guide to slowly ablate your enlarged thyroid nodule tissue, plane by plane.
Using ultrasound imaging, the physician will ensure that no unnecessary tissue is ablated or surrounding structures are damaged. The surgeon will use a radio frequency generator. This is a state-of-the-art machine that creates the exact charge necessary to ablate tiny portions of the tissue while protecting other anatomical structures.
RGS Healthcare provides the two most important pieces of safely conducting RF therapy. Firstly is the RF generator. The Mygen V1000 allows for precise ablation using algorithms that understand the level of electricity needed for the tissue being ablated.
Imaging systems such as the Alpinion E-Cube i7 ultrasound device allow medical professionals to fully visualize the thyroid nodule during the entire operation. This prevents health complications, injury, and other risk factors.
It allows the physician to correctly ablate benign cancers or precancerous thyroid growths effectively and with confidence.
Using low-quality equipment for RF ablation can result in ineffective treatment of the nodule. This can result in the nodule growing back or in additional health complications and side effects. Therefore ensure that your surgeon is equipped with the best tools to provide adequate and safe results.
Enlarged thyroid nodules, whether benign or malignant, can cause major lifestyle complications. You may feel compressive symptoms or be forced to supplement with hormonal treatment.
However, until recently, invasive surgeries such as thyroidectomies were the only viable options available to treat this condition. Decades of research have now been done on radiofrequency therapy to ablate thyroids precisely and effectively. Patients can enjoy not only fast results but lasting reduction of their thyroid nodules.
If you have any further questions about safe RF therapy or the machines used to perform it, you can contact us at RGS Healthcare today. Our experts are standing by to answer any questions you may have about this life-transforming, safe and effective therapy.