A thyroid radiofrequency ablation boasts higher success rates in several aspects of the clinical treatment of enlarged thyroid glands.
Traditionally treating hyperthyroidism, benign thyroid nodules, hot nodules, cold nodules, and pre-toxic and toxic nodules required invasive procedures. While certain kinds of surgery can help remove or reduce thyroid nodules, they also have several disadvantages.
With fewer risks, this non-invasive procedure promises to change the way doctors treat their patients for the better.
With better success rates compared to microwave ablation, laser ablation, and thyroidectomies with fewer complications, thyroid RFA is the best way to treat patients for the best outcome.
In this article, we’ll discuss the various benefits of radiofrequency ablation. We’ll also explore the clinical evidence for thermal ablation success rates, the proper technique when offering this therapy to patients, and the best equipment to use.
Instead of making a large incision in the patient’s throat or neck area, radiofrequency ablation only requires a tiny puncture in order to insert an electrode needle for ablation purposes.
Using a radiofrequency generator, the needle is able to ablate — or heat — the unwanted tissue. The doctor uses an imaging system and a handheld probe to maintain sight of both the patient’s both the patient’s thyroid nodule and the electrode probe during the procedure.
Radiofrequency ablation is an outpatient procedure. It takes around half an hour to perform depending on how much tissue must be ablated. Using simply local anesthesia, the patient is able to go home within around 20 minutes after the procedure after receiving ice treatment.
In order to properly perform thyroid ablation, physicians should use a moving shot technique. First apply local anesthesia to the thyroid and neck area. Then penetrate the skin so that the electrode needle is inside the thyroid nodule.
Guide the needle with an ultrasound probe and imaging system, holding the electrode needle in one hand. Continue to ablate the thyroid nodule layer by layer. Use continuous motions from the anterior to posterior of the thyroid.
Switch planes to ablate different parts of the nodule until completed. Afterwards, put an ice pack on the patient’s neck to reduce swelling and pain.
After half an hour you can release the patient. Schedule follow-up evaluations every three months for up to 24 months. The advantages of radiofrequency ablation for thyroids.
Radio frequency thermal ablation of the thyroid offers several benefits for physicians and patients:
You can perform the entire procedure between 15 and 40 minutes. Providing another 20 to 30 minutes until the patient leaves the facility means that the entire therapy can be delivered in under one hour.
Surgery should be used as a last resort. Not only does thyroidectomy and other surgery cause large cosmetic defects such as scarring, it also opens the patient up to additional risks. You could damage surrounding critical structures such as the trachea during surgery.
Additionally, hormonal supplementation will be required for the rest of the patient’s entire life if the entire thyroid is removed. Without disrupting surrounding tissues or structures, RFA is still effective.
Only around 28 in 2,000 patients have major complications after radio frequency thermal thyroid ablation. And only 38 in 2,000 experience minor complications. This is a significant reduction in risk compared to invasive surgery.
Clinical evidence supports high success rates across numerous categories when treating benign thyroid nodules with radiofrequency thermal ablation:
In 2020, a study was done to look at the volume reduction ratio of radiofrequency ablation when compared with laser ablation.
Ultimately, radiofrequency ablation achieved 87% reduction in nodule size at 24 months, whereas laser ablation only achieved 45%. So its success rate over competing therapies is clinically proven.
RF therapy has been shown to reduce nodule size in every patient that underwent therapy in one study. Furthermore, 100% success rate of reducing compressive symptoms was achieved and 88% of the patients were completely resolved of any compressive symptoms whatsoever.
Additionally, a success rate of resolving hypothyroidism was 79%. It was a 100% resolution in patients that had pre-toxic thyroid nodules. RFA also achieved a 100% success rate in terms of avoiding major complications and hospitalizations.
A study analyzing 1,543 thyroid nodules that underwent RFA therapy found that only 1.3% of patients experienced major complications. Almost every patient that experienced complications recovered (99.8%).
A 2015 randomized control trial conducted by the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism looked at 84 patients with psychologically benign solid nodules that were also symptomatic.
Every patient surveyed gave higher cosmetic scores afterwards. In the control group that did not undergo RFA, their symptom score was worse, and the volume did not decrease.
The European Thyroid Journal looked at 20 years of clinical use of radiofrequency ablation for thyroids. Not only did it find an average of 93% in volume reduction after 6 months (which was better than ethanol ablation at 87%), it also found zero evidence of any neoplasia in the studies.
Thermal ablation has been found to not only offer shorter hospital stays and cosmetic scores, but also to offer greater patient satisfaction.
Whereas thyroid nodule reduction was more costly, dangerous, and time-consuming in the past, methods have changed.
Two decades of research and experience with radiofrequency thermal ablation has proven this to be the best technique for doctors to use going forward. If you want to treat your patients and encourage the best health outcomes possible, reach out to RGS Healthcare.
We can equip you with the best tools to offer this life-changing therapy in your local area today.