What Is Thyroid Radiofrequency Ablation?

Thyroid growths don’t always require intervention. However, when they do, it often means an open surgery with an incision large enough to expose the entire located gland at the base of your neck. 

While surgery offers highly effective solutions, it’s still surgery, which comes with pain, scarring, and lengthy recovery times. Fortunately, depending on your thyroid condition, radiofrequency ablation (RFA) could provide the results you need in a far less invasive way.

Dr. Sean P. Nikravan, MD, FACE, has brought expert endocrinology care to people 12 years of age and older in the Newport Beach, California, community since 2005. At his state-of-the-art medical practice, Dr. Nikravan specializes in diagnosing thyroid conditions, and he takes an evidence-based, personalized approach to treating them.

If you have a thyroid disease like a goiter, nodule, or cancer, here’s how RFA therapy could help.

How thyroid radiofrequency ablation works

RFA uses radiofrequency waves to destroy cells. This technology can treat a wide range of conditions, from tumors and chronic venous insufficiency in the legs to chronic neck and back pain. 

When used to treat thyroid problems, Dr. Nikravan uses RFA energy to destroy abnormal thyroid tissue, such as:

Unlike thyroid surgery that requires an incision, Dr. Nikravan guides a thin needle into your thyroid gland using ultrasound-guided imaging. Once in place, he delivers the radiofrequency energy, which exposes the targeted cells to precise levels of heat. In response, the tissue dies, and your immune system flushes them from your system.

What to expect from thyroid RFA

With Dr. Nikravan’s skill and experience performing thyroid radiofrequency ablation, you can expect the procedure to take about 30 to 60 minutes or less depending on the nodule size.

Before your procedure, you receive medication to keep you relaxed throughout the entire process. Dr. Nikravan also applies a numbing agent to the area of your neck where he inserts the RFA probe. 

When Dr. Nikravan transmits the radiofrequency energy, you may experience mild discomfort or an unpleasant warming sensation. However, this disappears as soon as your treatment ends.

After your procedure, you’ll be free to go home. In most cases, you can resume regular activity within 24 hours. However, Dr. Nikravan usually recommends avoiding strenuous physical activity for at least 72 hours.

Thyroid RFA provides positive results for most people. You can usually expect to see a significant size reduction of your growth within a month, and it can even disappear altogether. And, since it doesn’t require any incisions, you have no risk of scarring. It’s even possible to avoid the need for long-term thyroid medications with this innovative, minimally invasive solution.

When to consider thyroid RFA

Thyroid radiofrequency ablation offers numerous advantages. However, it’s not right for everyone. For example, this treatment isn’t a good option if you have cardiac arrhythmia, are pregnant, or have a large growth positioned too close to vital structures, like blood vessels, nerves, or vocal cords.

Dr. Nikravan can determine if thyroid RFA is a good treatment option for you by performing a comprehensive exam. 

Curious to see if RFA can address your thyroid issues? Contact Dr. Sean P. Nikravan’s office in Newport Beach, California, by calling 949-336-1297 or booking a consultation online today.

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