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Thyroid Radio Frequency Ablation

Thyroid Ablation: A Breakthrough Treatment for Papillary Thyroid Microcarcinoma

Thyroid Radio Frequency Ablation is a breakthrough ultrasound-guided, minimally invasive treatment (MIT). It is recommended as an alternative to thyroidectomies and radioiodine for treating Papillary Thyroid Microcarcinoma (PTMC).

The non-invasive therapy boasts cosmetic improvements, safety, efficacy, and cost benefits. Behind the scenes, RFA has been tested for several decades.

While surgeons and doctors have enjoyed the advantages of this therapy in other countries, it is only recently becoming known in the US. 

In this post we will discuss why thyroid ablation is being considered the most exciting treatment for PTMC and hyperthyroidism in our lifetimes. Continue reading to discover what RFA is, how it works, and what clinical science has discovered.

That way, you can determine if RF ablation is a good choice for your thyroid patients.

How To Treat PTMC With Thyroid Radio Frequency Ablation

Radiofrequency ablation involves the use of a radiofrequency generator and an electrode probe. Using the probe, the doctor penetrates the patient’s neck and then penetrates the thyroid. 

Then the doctor methodically ablates the thyroid nodule using a moving shot technique. Once the thyroid tissue is ablated, the body processes the tissue. 

More About The Moving Shot Technique for Thyroid Ablation

The moving shot technique involves slowly pulling the needle from the posterior to the anterior while the radiofrequency generator ablates the tissue via the electrode tip. Doing ablating layer by layer, you can ensure maximum ablation coverage. 

Additionally, the precision of the electrode tip prevents ablating healthy tissue. After the procedure is finished, the doctor removes the needle, sanitizes the small puncture wound and monitors the patient. 

After around 20-30 minutes of ice on the patient’s neck, they can go home. 

Follow Up For RF Thyroid Ablation

Follow up for RFA is typically done at the 1, 3, 6, and 12 month timeline. You can follow up after 24-36 months as well.

Equipment Needed To Perform Thyroid Ablation

RFA is performed by a surgeon or doctor using the following equipment:

  • Local anesthesia
  • Electrode needle
  • Ultrasound screen
  • Grounding pad
  • RF generator

The ultrasound screen provides careful visual monitoring of the entire procedure. And the RF generator provides the necessary heat to ablate the tissue. 

What Can RFA Treat?

Thyroid ablation can treat benign thyroid nodules and papillary thyroid microcarcinoma. It provides a long-term reduction of the thyroid nodule volume. Thyroid RF therapy is also effective for other types of tissues like the lung, kidney, bone and more.

Dr. Richard Guttler
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Clinical Evidence Supporting RFA for PTMC

What makes RFA the best treatment for PTMC? Radio frequency ablation is preferable to other types of thyroid treatment such as invasive surgery or radioactive iodine therapy.

Clinical studies have so far come to the following conclusions regarding radiofrequency ablative therapy for PTMC:

  • Radioiodine and surgery are not recommended over RFA due to refractoriness, adverse quality of life outcomes, and complications from surgery.
  • Thermal Ablation (TA) such as RFA is a low-risk PTMC treatment option, particularly for patients who:
    • Are at higher risk during surgery
    • Have relevant comorbidities
    • Do not want to undergo surgery
  • High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) and ethanol ablation are not recommended for PTMC treatment, whereas thermal ablation is.
  • RFA caused 88.41% of tumors in 414 PTMC patients to disappear completely — suggesting long term oncological effectiveness.

Additional Benefits of RF Ablation for Benign Growths

Additional evidence supporting RFA for thyroid conditions includes:

Reduction in VRR

Studies have shown that patients experienced a reduction in thyroid nodules by 68% in just the first 6 months. 

Over 24 months, thyroid nodules were reduced by 87% using RFA.  When compared to just 45% VRR from laser therapy, it’s clear to see why RFA is considered the more effective thyroid treatment. 

Low Complications

RFA also offers less risk to the patient. There were no hospitalizations or major complications found in a clinical study. In addition, 100% of the patients that had pre-toxic thyroid nodules were able to resolve their hyperthyroidism. 

Compressive symptoms improved in every single patient in the study. And in 88% of the patients, compressive symptoms were completely gone after the follow-up survey. 

Longevity of Results

The Clinical Journal of the Society for Endocrinology and Endocrine Society of Australia found a significant volume reduction that remained stable for several years after RFA. 

They also found that it had a low level of complications. This suggests that radiofrequency ablation is a permanent to semi-permanent solution for the shrinkage of TNs.

Equipment Pricing

Purchasing the equipment for other types of thyroid interventions such as HIFU comes at a greater cost. 

And yet study after study has demonstrated that thyroid RF ablation is a more effective treatment for reducing the size of thyroid nodules. Therefore a reduction in the cost for the medical provider is a secondary but important benefit to consider.

RFA Equipment For Papillary Thyroid Microcarcinoma

Thyroid Ablation Machine

With the proper technique and training, physicians can perform RFA in a safe manner to treat certain cancerous thyroid nodules. However, it’s important to use the proper tools. 

Specifically, it is essential that the doctor has full vision of the thyroid nodule and the electrode probe that creates the ablation.

Therefore, it’s recommended to use proven high-quality ultrasound imaging equipment such as the E-Cube i7 or the E-Cube X70.

Additionally, using the right amount of heat with the radiofrequency generator is key. A radiofrequency generator that causes too much ablation can be harmful to the patient’s thyroid and surrounding critical areas. 

The best machine for ablation is the Mygen V1000, from RF medical. This provides unique algorithms designed to treat specific tissues such as thyroid tissue. This way, the doctor does not have to manually set the level of radiofrequency. 

Thus the doctor or surgeon focuses on their precision moving shot technique. They can fully trust that the electrode will provide the correct amount of ablation for each small portion of thyroid tissue at a time. 

This allows you to treat the thyroid effectively and prevent cancerous PTMC growth from reoccurring.

New Solutions for a New Age of Thyroid Treatment 

The advancement in thyroid cancer treatment promises to improve and even save the lives of patients all over the world. RFA is a low risk, minimally invasive, straightforward therapy. 

If you can successfully incorporate this PTMC cancer treatment into your medical practice, your patient outcomes could improve significantly. 

To learn more about RFA, call RGS Healthcare today or schedule a product demo to discover the right equipment you need to treat thyroid patients quickly and effectively.


  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31327158/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19265492/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28718950/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34178704/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34248853/