written by

Annie Collum, BSN, RN

Annie Collum, BSN, RN is the RIA Manager, Physician Liaison in Denver, Colorado

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July 19, 2022, ,

Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) of Thyroid Nodules

Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) of Thyroid Nodules

• What is RFA of a thyroid nodule?

Thyroid RFA is a minimally invasive medical procedure that treats thyroid nodules. Using ultrasound-guided imaging, the nodule is located, allowing the treatment to focus solely on the targeted nodule area. Using a radiofrequency generator, your doctor allows a carefully controlled amount of energy to flow through the electrode into the tissue to ablate the nodule. With the sustained RFA thermal heat, the nodule is degenerated, allowing the degenerated tissue to flow through your body naturally as waste over the course of a few months.

• Why would you need an RFA of a thyroid nodule?

Thyroid RFA was developed over 15 years ago, and about 7,000 procedures are performed worldwide each year. Thyroid RFA preserves healthy thyroid tissue by target-treating only the nodules without compromising the thyroid function. It can avoid the risks and long recovery times of surgery, as it can be performed under local anesthesia in an outpatient office or in a hospital setting.

To determine if thyroid RFA is right for you, you will need to undergo an assessment that will include an ultrasound scan and a fine-needle aspiration (biopsy) where several samples of the nodule will be taken and sent to pathology for microscopic evaluation.

• Risks Involved

Our ability to use imaging guidance and cutting-edge technology minimizes patient risk. Prior to your procedure, your physician will discuss any potential risks with you.

• Conditions to let us know about

Let your doctor know if you currently are pregnant or breastfeeding, are feeling ill, have a fever or are taking any blood thinners.

• Insurance coverage

At this time, insurance does not cover radiofrequency ablation of thyroid nodules. Upon referral, we are happy to inform you of the self-pay rate.

• Preparing for your procedure

If you are on blood thinners, your doctor will instruct you if you need to stop these medications prior to the procedure. If your procedure requires sedation, then you will need a responsible adult to give you a ride home.

• Recovering from your procedure

You may possibly receive mild to moderate sedation during your procedure. You will stay in the recovery area until you are ready for discharge. You will be given written postprocedure discharge instructions that will advise you on a return to normal physical activity. If you have any questions after your procedure, please call the RIA Interventional Suite at 720-493-3406.