PROCEDURES
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RADIOFREQUENCY ABLATION OF THYROID NODULES

Only Procedure Site in Central Florida
About one in three people have some sort of benign growth on their thyroid that never causes any problems. However, some can grow to a size that becomes cosmetically unappealing and worse yet, affects the ability to swallow and breathe. When this occurs, a relatively new procedure called radiofrequency ablation (RFA) of the thyroid nodule is a safe, scarless alternative to in-patient surgery. 

 

As the only practice offering RFA in Central Florida, Metabolic Center for Wellness patients can undergo this minimally invasive procedure in the comfort of the office. RFA is performed under local anesthesia using ultrasound guidance to ensure the electrode remains far away from structures like nerves. In some cases, fluid may be drained before the unwanted tissue is destroyed using medium frequency current. This leaves the surrounding healthy tissue completely intact. The entire procedure only takes about 45 minutes.

 

Patients are asked to remain in the office about 30 minutes following RFA to ensure their safe recovery. Afterward, they can immediately return to their daily routines.

 

During the months following the procedure, the thyroid tissue continues to shrink and disappear. This most often results in a drastic change in the outward appearance of the previously enlarged gland, as well as a reduction of symptoms like discomfort with swallowing and breathing. In some cases, the need to take thyroid medications for life is totally eliminated.

 

For years, RFA has been used around the world on organ tissues like the heart, as well as on certain tumors. In 2018, it was approved for use on the thyroid. Clinical trials have shown that “cold” benign thyroid nodules (those that do not produce excess thyroid hormones) treated with RFA consistently decrease to 93.5% over a 4-year period. “Hot” benign thyroid nodules (those that produce excess thyroid hormones) treated with RFA have shown volume reduction rates of 52.6% to 70.7% around the 6-month mark. Most of those patients experienced improved or completely normal thyroid function.

 

Dr. Mazza has received extensive training on the RFA technique and has experienced great success with her patients. To see if RFA is right for you, schedule an appointment to learn more. Since this procedure is not currently covered by insurance, we also can discuss payment options.

FAQs

 

What are the advantages of RFA?

RFA is relatively painless, minimally invasive and does not require general anesthesia (like surgery).  That means there is no scarring left on the skin and no risk associated with anesthesia.  RFA also minimizes any risk of permanent damage to the nerves of the vocal cords or to the parathyroid glands that may accompany thyroid surgery.

One of the most appealing aspects of RFA is that thyroid function is preserved!  Normal thyroid tissue is allowed to function and no long-long thyroid hormone replacement is needed!

How effective is RFA?

RFA is extremely effective and results can be noted quite quickly.  Depending on the nodule, most nodules can be decreased in size from 60-90 percent within one year.  Clinical studies have demonstrated that benign, non-functioning thyroid nodules showed approximately 50-80 percent by six months and one year follow-up of about 90%.  As far as overactive thyroid nodules, RFA decreased size about 50-70% at six months and brought thyroid hormone levels back to normal in most patients.

Who is a good candidate for RFA?

  • Persons with cosmetically bothersome thyroid nodules.

  • Persons with biopsy-proven benign nodules causing symptoms.

  • Patients with benign nodules that are growing quickly.

  • Patients who cannot or choose not to have surgery.

  • Patients with nodules that produce too much thyroid hormone.

 

Who is not an optimal candidate for RFA?

  • Persons with very small thyroid nodules.

  • Persons with implantable pacemakers and/or defibrillators.

  • Persons on anticoagulation or blood thinners that cannot briefly be held for the procedure.

  • Persons with severe heart disease.

  • Persons who are pregnant.

Are there any risks associated with RFA?

As with any medical procedure, there is the potential for complications.  Although complications with RFA are very rare, they may include:

  • Bruising or soreness

  • Skin burn where the probe was inserted

  • Hoarseness

  • Failure to obtain the desired results and requiring additional treatment

  • Possible need for thyroid hormone therapy

Call today to schedule your consultation!