About Associated Endocrinologists
Associated Endocrinologists is a consultative practice that focuses on osteoporosis, diabetes, thyroid, parathyroid, pituitary, and adrenal disorders. We have been operating for around 40 years and continue to be one of the Midwest’s largest, most-respected endocrine practices.
All our physicians are Board Certified in Endocrinology and Metabolism. Each completed their endocrinology fellowships at prestigious schools, including Northwestern, the University of Illinois, the University of Michigan, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Wayne State University, and Henry Ford Hospital.
Our physicians perform on-site thyroid ultrasound, fine-needle thyroid biopsies, and thyroid radiofrequency ablation to diagnose and treat thyroid disorders. We are also certified to perform thyroid scans and uptakes, radioactive iodine therapy, and parathyroid scans through Beaumont Hospital.
When Do You Need Thyroid Radiofrequency Ablation?
Thyroid nodules are growths or damaged tissue in your thyroid gland. While approximately 90% of thyroid nodules are benign, nodules may indicate thyroid cancer in 4% to 6.5% of patients.
Early diagnosis and treatment are critical for successfully removing benign thyroid nodules. If you experience any of the following symptoms, contact Associated Endocrinologists for a virtual or in-person consultation.
- Your thyroid nodules obstruct your airways and cause problems breathing, swallowing, or speaking
- Your nodules cause chronic throat pain
- The size of the nodule adversely impacts your appearance and mental health
- You experience symptoms of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism
- Your primary care physician recommends visiting an endocrine specialist
Thyroid RFA is typically prescribed for benign thyroid nodules larger than 3 cm in diameter, solid nodules that show continuous growth, and multinodular goiters.
What to Expect From a Thyroid RFA Procedure
Before your procedure, your thyroid radiofrequency ablation doctor will recommend that you stop taking blood thinners like warfarin, heparin, and aspirin for several days. You should also wear loose clothes and no neck jewelry on the day of the procedure.
Thyroid RFA takes between 15 and 60 minutes to complete, depending on the nodules’ size, number, and location. When you lay down on the exam table, your doctor will place two grounding pads behind your thighs and a pillow behind your head for support.
Your doctor applies a numbing gel to the area above the thyroid gland and injects a local anesthetic. Thyroid RFA treatment is performed under ultrasound guidance, so the doctor applies a lubricating jelly to allow the transducer wand to glide smoothly over your skin.
The doctor inserts the ablation needle transischemically through the center of your neck. They switch on the generator, which sends an alternating current through the needle, causing the tips to heat up. The intense heat kills the damaged nodule tissue.
The doctor uses a technique called a moving shot, during which the needle’s tip constantly moves around the nodule to ensure it is completely ablated without overheating and damaging healthy thyroid tissue.
Thyroid RFA Aftercare Instructions
Thyroid RFA is a non-invasive outpatient procedure so that you can resume your normal activities almost immediately after treatment. However, you may experience some minor bruising, tenderness, and oozing at the insertion site for several days after the procedure. Following your doctor’s aftercare instructions is crucial to reduce the risk of post-treatment complications and minimize discomfort.
- Use OTC pain relievers to reduce discomfort, but avoid aspirin as it can increase the risk of bleeding.
- Apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel to your neck intermittently for 15 mins on and off. This reduces swelling and inflammation.
- Ensure that you keep your insertion wound dry for at least 24 hours after treatment, and redress the wound daily with a small adhesive bandage until it closes naturally.
In rare cases, you may experience side effects or complications from the RFA procedure. If you have a fever, feel nauseous, or the wound bleeds excessively for more than two days, contact Associated Endocrinologists for a follow-up appointment; it may indicate an infection. Other RFA side effects include:
- Vocal changes
- Transient thyrotoxicosis
- Skin burns
- Nerve damage