Radiofrequency ablation offers a minimally invasive treatment alternative to a surgical procedure if you have benign thyroid nodules. Radiofrequency ablation is a safe procedure that offers a shorter recovery time than surgical intervention to eliminate or reduce the volume of benign, non-cancerous thyroid nodules, allowing you to eat, speak, and breathe normally.
Associated Endocrinologists is the first practice to offer RFA ablation for thyroid nodules in Michigan, serving patients in Detroit and the surrounding areas of Wayne county. Our experienced physicians have specialized training in thyroid ultrasonography and thyroid RFA to ensure you are comfortable and safe during the procedure.
Common Symptoms of Benign Thyroid Nodules
Palpable thyroid nodules are present in up to 7% of American women and can dramatically affect your quality of life. Thyroid nodules are sometimes asymptomatic and are only discovered after a physical exam by your primary care physician. But in other cases, they can cause numerous symptoms, such as:
- Respiratory difficulties
- Inability to swallow
- Vocal changes
- Neck pain
- Multinodular goiter
The size and quantity of thyroid nodules can also produce excess thyroid hormones. This can cause hyperthyroidism with symptoms that include:
- Mood changes
- Loss of muscle strength and control
- Irregular periods
- Dry, irritated skin
- Thinning hair
- Rapid weight loss
- Sleep problems
- Vision issues
- Sensitivity to heat
- Reduced appetite
- Heart palpitations
The location of the thyroid nodules may also cause low thyroid hormone production (hypothyroidism). You may experience symptoms such as:
- Extreme tiredness
- Shorter, heavier menstrual cycles
- Reduced cognitive function
- Rapid increase in weight and an inability to lose weight with diet and exercise
- Abdominal bloating and constipation
- Dry skin and hair
- Sensitivity to cold
What is Thyroid RFA Ablation?
While there are surgical options to remove thyroid nodules, they often require a prolonged recovery and can have several complications, including nerve damage, permanent vocal changes, and hypoparathyroidism. RFA ablation is a non-invasive procedure that addresses thyroid issues and offers faster recovery and minimal discomfort.
Physical therapists frequently use RFA ablation to address acute pain due to back issues, joint pain, chronic knee pain, cardiovascular issues, and nerve ablation. However, over the last decade, clinical studies have shown that radiofrequency ablation is a successful technique for eliminating benign thyroid nodules.
RFA is a thermal ablation technique that uses intense heat to kill the nodule tissue, stopping growth and causing it to shrink over time. The doctor uses an ultrasound-guided electrode needle to deliver heat to the nodule’s precise location without damaging the surrounding healthy tissue.
Thyroid RFA Procedure
During your initial assessment, your doctor will manually palpate your thyroid to estimate the size and number of thyroid nodules present. They may then recommend a thyroid ultrasound to accurately image the nodules in real-time to determine their location and volume. If your thyroid nodules represent a risk or diminish your quality of life, your doctor may recommend thyroid RFA and create an individualized treatment plan.
Thyroid RFA is a fast, outpatient procedure that allows you to resume regular activity immediately after treatment. The entire process takes between 15 and 60 minutes, depending on the number of nodules to be ablated.
When you arrive at the Associated Endocrinologists clinic, your doctor will place two grounding pads behind your thighs on the exam table for added safety. They then apply a numbing gel to your neck and administer a local anesthetic injection to numb the area above the thyroid.
The doctor inserts the needle through the center of the neck until it reaches the target area of the nodule. Then, they activate the radiofrequency generator, which creates an alternating electric current to cause ionic friction. This friction heats the tip of the needle.
The RFA doctor uses a moving shot technique, so the electrode continuously moves inside the thyroid gland. This stops the tissue from overheating and ensures that the electrode reaches all nodule tissue for complete ablation.
Treat Benign Thyroid Nodules in Detroit, MI
If your doctor has prescribed thyroid RFA to treat benign thyroid nodules, contact Associated Endocrinologists for a consultation. Our experienced health care providers use state-of-the-art imaging technology, including an ultrasound-guided biopsy, to evaluate your thyroid and determine whether any nodules are benign or malignant.
If you live in Detroit, contact one of our two Oakland County offices via our convenient online form to schedule your RFA appointment today.