First, to know what thyroid radiofrequency ablation is, you should know about the thyroid and the thyroid nodule.
The thyroid gland is a tiny organ in the front of the neck that wraps around the windpipe (trachea). It has the shape of a butterfly, with two wide wings that wrap around the side of your throat. The thyroid gland is a gland. Throughout your body, glands produce and release substances that assist your body in performing a specific function. Your thyroid gland produces hormones that aid in regulating many critical bodily functions.
When your thyroid isn’t working properly, it might affect the rest of your body. Hyperthyroidism occurs when your body produces an excessive amount of thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism occurs when your body produces insufficient thyroid hormone. These illnesses are dangerous and should be handled by your doctor.
Your thyroid plays a crucial role in your body by releasing and managing thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism. Metabolism is the process through which the food you consume in your body is converted into energy. This energy is used throughout your body to keep many of your body’s systems functioning properly. Consider your metabolism to be a generator. It absorbs raw energy and transforms it into something more powerful.
The thyroid regulates your metabolism with two hormones: T4 (thyroxine, which includes four iodide atoms) and T3 (triiodothyronine, which contains three iodide atoms). The thyroid produces these two hormones, which tell the body’s cells how much energy to use. When your thyroid functions properly, it will produce the appropriate amount of hormones to keep your metabolism running smoothly. The thyroid produces replacement hormones as the hormones are depleted.
The release of thyroid hormones is all under the control of the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland, located in the centre of the skull below the brain, monitors and controls all of the thyroid hormones in your bloodstream. When the pituitary gland detects a lack of thyroid hormones or an excess of hormones in your body, it adjusts the levels with its hormone. This hormone is referred to as thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). The TSH will be delivered to the thyroid, telling it what has to be done to return the body to normal.
Thyroid gland tumors are frequent, yet 90 percent are benign. Thyroid tumors are more frequent in women, are typically asymptomatic, and peak between the ages of 35 and 65. When a malignant tumor begins to form in the thyroid gland, it typically does so within a distinct thyroid nodule. The most prevalent kinds of thyroid cancer are papillary, mixed papillary/follicular, follicular, Hürthle cell, and medullary thyroid tumors. The most prevalent types (papillary and follicular) are also the most treatable. The initial surgery for any thyroid malignancy must be as thorough as feasible.
Thyroid nodules are hard or fluid-filled masses that develop within the thyroid just above the breastbone. Most thyroid nodules do not give symptoms. Thyroid nodules are frequently identified by chance during a routine medical examination or on imaging tests such as CT scans or neck ultrasounds performed for completely unrelated causes. Patients may discover thyroid nodules by noting a bump on their neck when gazing in the mirror, buttoning their collar, or wearing a necklace. Thyroid nodules are sometimes discovered due to abnormal thyroid function tests.
Thyroid cancers and cysts are fairly common in the general population. In the United States, surgical removal was the primary treatment option for these people. Despite advancements in surgical training and methods, surgery still entails a risk of complications, especially in high-volume surgical institutions. Excess T3 and T4-producing nodules can be treated in numerous methods, including radioactive iodine, thyroid radiofrequency ablation, alcohol ablation, or surgery to remove the nodule and therefore cure the excess hormone production.
Surgical resection of the thyroid is called thyroidectomy. The following are the primary dangers of thyroid surgery:
As with any surgical procedure, there is always the possibility of bleeding in contrast to thyroid radiofrequency ablation, which is an outpatient procedure. However, a haemorrhage in the neck can be fatal because the blood might pool and press on the windpipe or trachea, making breathing impossible.
The vocal cords are controlled by two sets of nerves near the thyroid gland. They are the recurrent and superior laryngeal nerve’s external branches. When a recurrent laryngeal nerve is damaged, you may experience loss of voice or hoarseness of voice.
Because the parathyroid glands may not work properly shortly after surgery, hypocalcemia (low calcium levels in the blood) may occur after thyroid or parathyroid surgery, and transient hypocalcemia/hypoparathyroidism is common. Hypocalcemia can induce numbness, tingling (particularly around the lips, hands, and feet), and muscle cramps.
Seromas are fluid collections beneath the skin at an incision site that appears full or swollen. When they are minor, they normally go away within a few weeks. If the seroma is large, a surgeon may need to drain it.
If a post-operative infection develops, the infected fluid may need to be drained, and the patient may require antibiotics.
There are no such complications as mentioned above in this procedure. For benign thyroid nodules, radiofrequency ablation is extremely successful. After one year, nodules often shrink by 60-90%, with an average of 80%. The key advantages of radiofrequency ablation over surgery are:
All these advantages of thyroid radiofrequency ablation make it the first-line treatment for thyroid nodules.
Check out our patient animation video that takes you through every step of the thyroid rfa journey. Topics covered include:
• What is Thyroid Radiofrequency Ablation
• Moving shot technique explained
• Tips for Thyroid RFA Treatment
• Advantages of Thyroid Radio Frequency Ablation