What is Radiofrequency Ablation?
Thyroid Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) is a non-invasive procedure that uses targeted electricity to generate heat in a thyroid nodule, killing the cells within the nodule while leaving the healthy cells of the thyroid untouched.
The doctor numbs the area with a local anesthetic during the procedure then uses an ultrasound to guide an electrode to the nodule on your thyroid. A mild alternating current is sent through the electrode, creating ionic friction and resulting in heat production. The heat kills the nodule cells without damaging the healthy surrounding thyroid tissue.
Following the RFA procedure, the nodule shrinks an average of 50-80%, making it a highly successful treatment option for most patients.
Is RFA Painful?
Because RFA is a non-invasive outpatient treatment, minimal pain management is required after the procedure, and most people resume normal activities the next day. In addition, since the procedure does not involve removal or damage of the thyroid itself, there’s no need for a lifetime of thyroid medications after treatment and no scarring.
You will also need to return to our offices at 6 weeks, 6 months, and 12 months for regular thyroid ultrasounds and an assessment of thyroid function.
Results of the procedure last for years, with relatively few patients experiencing a return of the nodules.
Who Qualifies for RFA?
If you have benign thyroid nodules interfering with your quality of life, RFA may be the best treatment option, especially if you prefer to avoid surgery.
Thyroid RFA is usually suggested when a patient experiences:
- Large multinodular goiters on the neck
- Sizeable nodes that cause cosmetic concerns
- Overfunctioning nodes that cause hyperthyroidism
- Compression in the neck leading to difficulty swallowing and breathing
If the nodule is thought to be cancerous, RFA is not recommended. RFA is also not recommended for patients with scarring or calcifications on the thyroid, patients with pacemakers or defibrillators, or patients with heart disease or pregnancy.
Contact Associated Endocrinologists Today
At Associated Endocrinologists, we treat various endocrine conditions, including diabetes, PCOS, adrenal tumors, and more. We also now offer telehealth services.
Associated Endocrinologists is one of the first offices in Michigan to offer RFA. If you live in Novi, MI, or the surrounding area, and suffer from benign thyroid nodules, contact us to make an appointment.