Years of clinical research have made thyroid radiofrequency ablation more popular as a treatment for enlarged thyroid nodules (TNs). It can treat both benign thyroid nodules and, in some cases, myoma.
Radiofrequency ablation is noninvasive, relatively straightforward, and safe for patients. It can be used as a replacement for thyroidectomies, microwave ablation, laser ablation, and more.
In this article we’ll discuss how thyroid ablation offers key advantages to surgeons who want to improve patient outcomes when treating thyroid conditions. We’ll also discuss proper technique, equipment, and best practices.
Ablation refers to excess heat. Radiofrequency thermal ablation involves destroying unwanted thyroid nodule tissue with this ablation. Patients are not required to undergo general anesthetic.
Using local anesthetic, this outpatient procedure can be done in under an hour, including a post-procedure assessment of the patient. Using a radiofrequency generator like the Mygen V-1000, an electric charge is created.
This charge is delivered via an electric probe that is placed inside the patient’s nodule. Using proper machinery, the amount of ablation will automatically be determined. Doctors do not have to worry about changing the level of heat.
Instead, the doctor will be focused on maintaining vision of the location of the probe within the thyroid nodule to methodically ablate tissue layer by layer. Because the heat is hyper localized, it does not damage surrounding tissues if performed correctly.
Instead, it only destroys a small amount of unwanted tissue, portion by portion. Ablating the entire thyroid or removing the thyroid is not required.
When performing thyroid ablation on a patient, you should use a handheld ultrasound device. This handheld probe will then route to an imaging system like the E-Cube i7 (from RF Medical).
Then, penetrate the patient’s skin with the electrode probe and pierce the nodule. From here, the radio frequency generator will provide the ablation power. The doctor will be responsible for positioning the probe to ablate the tissue in specific areas.
A moving shot technique should be used. This involves moving the needle anterior to posterior slowly. Do this on several planes until all the tissue that needs to be ablated has been destroyed.
Be careful not to destroy healthy tissue or surrounding areas. The hyperlocalization of the electrode probe helps to avoid damaging critical structures or additional tissue.
Thanks to the imaging system, you will be able to see healthy tissue versus the bubbling or ablated tissue. This ensures precision and safety.
Several clinical studies have been conducted over the years. These have shown the efficacy and safety of thyroid ablation compared to foregoing any treatment or even compared to other surgeries and treatments.
Here are some of the highlights of the research and the conclusions therein on thyroid ablation using radiofrequency ablation:
Cosmetic results are improved with thyroid ablation when compared to a lack of therapy or other procedures. Patients gave higher cosmetic scores every single time using radiofrequency ablation compared to those who underwent zero therapy.
This is according to the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism in a 2015 study.
In the interest of improving patient outcomes, complications must be considered when weighing the risks and benefits of any thyroid treatment.
Luckily thyroid ablation using radiofrequency reduces complications by a significant amount. Thyroid ablation can reduce thyroid volume reduction ratio (VRR) by an average of 69%. Some studies suggest that this amount is higher.
Compressive symptoms are reduced in patients after they undergo thyroid therapy. This improves their quality of life and comfort.
88% of patients saw a decrease in compressive symptoms after follow-ups. 100% of patients who had merely pre-toxic thyroid nodules that underwent RFA were able to stop methimazole therapy. And hyperthyroidism was defeated in 79% of patients undergoing RFA.
The same study found zero hospitalizations or major complications after the thermal ablation. When compared with thyroidectomy, laser ablation and other therapies, the differences are clear.
RF ablation of the thyroid does not require the patients to stay in the medical facility for very long and certainly not overnight.
A 2017 study by the Clinical Journal of the Society for Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society of Australia found that toxic nodule shrinkage was also accompanied by an improvement of local symptoms with no hospitalization or complications.
After evaluating 1,543 thyroid nodules that underwent radiofrequency ablation, 99.8% of patients fully recovered from their complications. Of those that experienced temporary complications, only 3.3% of them were major. One patient out of all of the 1,543 had hyperthyroidism afterwards.
This risk-benefit analysis clearly favors thyroid radiofrequency ablation as the best therapy to treat benign thyroid nodules.
Equipping doctors, surgeons, endocrinologists, and other healthcare professionals with the proper equipment is essential in ensuring a safe and effective thyroid ablation procedure.
Aim to acquire the following equipment for proper conduction of thyroid therapy with RFA:
At RGS Healthcare, we are proud to equip you with the best tools for conducting RFA therapy. The Alpinion E-Cube i7, for instance, is a state-of-the-art imaging system that allows you to conduct thermal ablation with full visibility. The high-resolution LED monitor ensures precise ablation of the thyroid nodule.
Additionally, the Mygen V-1000 radio frequency generator, from RF Medical, offers algorithmic ablation. The pre-programmed ablation levels allow you to focus on accurate moving shot technique instead of manipulating heat levels.
You can even use this RF ablation machine for other tissues depending on the patient’s needs. This includes kidney and lung tissue, among others.
Reducing the VRR of thyroid nodules no longer requires invasive surgery. Thankfully, doctors can now treat hyperthyroidism and other thyroid conditions with a safe radiofrequency therapy. By investing in the proper equipment for your medical practice from RGS Healthcare, you can ensure safe patient outcomes.
That way you can help patients enjoy a better quality of life, better cosmetic scores, and reduced complications from their thyroid nodules.