We know you have many important questions about
your RFA procedure. Our care to you is of
Q. Why should one consider non-surgical alternatives?
A. Thyroid surgery is often recommended to patients because of the presence of a large thyroid mann/Goiter, or “cold nodule”, because of bothersome symptoms (difficulty swallowing, strange feeling in the neck) caused by large, frequently readily visible nodules.
Q. What are the possible disadvantages of thyroid surgery?
A. Thyroid surgery is frequently associated with transient or even enduring complications (7 to 11% when one thyroid lobe is removed, and 14 to 24% when the thyroid gland is completly removed).
If surgery is chosen: the following are unavoidable:
Hospital admission, a convalescence peroid (typically 2 weeks), permanent scar in the neck region, as well as in life-long thyroid medication / regular check-ups and an associated risk.
Q. Am i a suitable candidate for radiofrequency ablation?
A. There are specific set of criteria e follow to select the right candidates who would receive the most benefit from this procedure. This includes blood tests, ultrasounds, and possibly needle thyroid biopsies.
Q. Thyroid radiofrequency ablation (RFA)
A. is a treatment for reducing the size of benign thyroid nodules if they are symptomatic (pressure feeling in the neck) or causing a visible neck swelling.
Q. Is the procedure available in the USA?
Q. My surgeon says this is an experimental treatment. Is that true?
A. Surgeons have an obvious vested interest in performing surgery! This is not an experimental treatment. It has been validated and tested over many years in large series of patients and is now an established treatment performed in many countries around the world and also in a small trial at the Mayo Clinic, we also have successfully treated over 15 patients.
Q. How does it work?
A. Thyroid radiofrequency ablation is performed under local anaesthetic using a special needle which is passed into the thyroid nodule under ultrasound guidance. The tip of the needle heats up and this heating of the needle heats the adjacent thyroid tissue. This causes the nodule to subsequently shrink down over time. The ablation changes during the treatment can be seen in real time by the doctor delivering the treatment using the ultrasound machine.
Q. Is it effective?
A. The evidence for the effectiveness of RFA is well established.The maximum benefit of the treatment is achieved 6-12 months following treatment . In general, RFA can reduced the volume of a nodule by 35-60 % at 1 month following treatment and 60-90% at 6-12 months.
Q. How long does it take?
A. The treatment itself takes betwee 20-40 minutes depending on the size and location of the thyroid nodule.
Q. Is it painful?
A. Minimal to no pain is the typical experience of our patients. We do use Local anesthetic and we also give other medications as needed to make it a easily tolerated procedure.
Q. How long after the procedure can i go home?
A. Patients are able to go home 20-30 minutes after the treatment 0we typically give you a ice pack and some Motrin.
Q. Will i have a scar on my neck?
A. No. The treatment is delivered using a thin needle. You may have a small needle site on your neck for a couple of days after the treatment but this very soon heals and it will not leave any visible scarring.