Thyroid radiofrequency ablation has ushered in a new era of thyroid treatment. Doctors and patients previously resigned to accept more harmful and invasive surgeries to manage benign toxic and pre-toxic thyroid nodules.
However, microwave ablation, laser ablation, thyroidectomy, and high-intensity frequency ablation (HIFU) have their downsides. While these methods can be used to treat thyroid conditions, RF ablation is a better alternative in several regards.
Firstly, thyroid ablation is not invasive. There is no surgery required and the cosmetic scarring is incredibly minimal. There are almost no complications or hospitalizations associated with thyroid ablation.
Yet this therapy promises to reduce thyroid nodule volume size in a subset of cancerous nodules and in benign nodules. Keep reading to understand the proven benefits of thermal ablation therapy backed by years of clinical studies.
In essence, radiofrequency thermal ablation destroys overactive parts of your thyroid gland. These nodules are ablated using an electrode needle and RF generator.
Doctors, surgeons, endocrinologists, and other medical professionals can safely perform thermal ablation using the right tools and techniques. RFA is effective for some cancerous, non-cancerous, toxic, and pre-toxic thyroid nodules. In some contexts, radiofrequency ablation might be appropriate for additional types of tissue.
The recommended technique for performing thyroid ablation is the moving shot technique.
First the doctor or surgeon uses an ultrasound probe to reveal the patient’s thyroid on an attached monitor. Then the doctor guides a radiofrequency electrode into the patient’s thyroid gland. This is attached to an RF generator. This provides the thermal energy for the ablation of the thyroid nodule.
Moving the robe back and forth in slow, steady motions, the doctor ablates the portions of the thyroid nodule which are potentially dangerous or overgrown. The physician should move from anterior to posterior, changing planes until the ablation is complete across the nodule.
Using an imaging system electrode probe, imaging monitor, and radio frequency generation device, the doctor can safely perform the procedure in around half an hour.
From here, the patient can be released after a short period of icing to relieve inflammation and pain. The outpatient nature of this procedure makes it convenient for both medical practices and patients alike.
Thyroid nodules were found to be reduced significantly in addition to their symptoms in a 2021 study.
In terms of volume reduction, thyroid ablation was found to reduce TN volume by 93%. Neoplasia regrowth was completely eliminated after six month follow-ups in this study.
This was better than ethanol ablation that was observed, according to the European Thyroid Journal in 2020.
Only 0.2% of patients observed in a study had permanent side effects. 3.3% of patients had some health complications. However, it’s important to note that after observing over 1,500 thyroid nodules, 99.8% of the patients enjoyed a full recovery.
The National Library of Medicine performed 24 month follow ups after RFA and found that 79.4% of thyroid nodule reduction was achieved on average.
Almost every patient in the study relieved their compressive symptoms. Not a single patient was found to have hyperthyroidism after RF therapy when they were treated for pre-toxic thyroid nodules.
Only one patient out of the entire study required methimazole therapy afterwards. Perhaps most importantly, zero hospitalizations or complications were observed during the study.
Additional benefits of undergoing RFA ablation for patients with thyroid conditions are:
Radiofrequency ablation only takes between 15 and 45 minutes from start to finish. This is advantageous compared to surgeries or other procedures that take longer for preparation and completion.
Shrinkage typically occurs quickly and continues over 12 to 24 months and lasts for several years.
Surgeons and medical providers can pass cost savings on to their patients thanks to thermal ablation. Machinery for this procedure can cost around $20,000.
This is inexpensive when compared to HIFU machines which have a minimum of $20,000, and can cost as much as $250,000.
Along with not having complications or hospitalizations after the procedure, patients are not required to stay in the facility immediately after either.
Within about a half an hour after undergoing RFA, the patient may leave under their own power. This reduces stress and costs on staff.
You should use specialized equipment for RF ablation. This includes an imaging probe, imaging monitor, RF generator, grounding pad, pump, local anesthetic, and electrode probe.
You can contact RGS Healthcare to acquire an imaging system such as the E-Cube i7 and also an RF generator. The Mygen V-1000 generator by RF Medical is a state-of-the-art piece of equipment that allows for the proper levels of ablation.
You can safely ablate thyroid tissue without worrying about damaging surrounding structure or tissues.
Treating hot, cold, toxic, and pre-toxic thyroid nodules used to require invasive surgery. However, that is no longer the case. A new era is among us.
With radiofrequency thyroid ablation, you can treat your patients with a safe thyroid therapy that reduces the size of the nodules over the long run with low rates of complications.
If you have any additional questions about the evidence supporting the efficacy of this procedure, don’t hesitate to reach out. Also, if you’d like to equip your practice with the right equipment to perform this treatment safely and effectively, contact RGS Healthcare right now.
You can offer better outcomes, shorter wait times, and more peace of mind to every patient that you serve.