Symptoms of difficulty and discomfort with swallowing are commonly referred to as dysphagia. Swallowing is a very dynamic process which requires coordinated movement of the larynx, esophagus, and trachea.
The thyroid is attached anteriorly to the trachea and larynx and can interfere with normal swallowing process when enlarged. Surgery to remove an enlarged thyroid gland can resolve symptoms of dysphagia. Surgery can also cause symptoms of dysphagia which did not exist before the operation.
Post operative dysphagia is felt to be related to scarring, fibrosis, and nerve disruption associated with the removal of a thyroid gland. Often these symptoms may take months to resolve. With dysphagia associated with an enlarged thyroid nodule, the symptoms are related to the mass effect of the thyroid itself. Symptoms of dysphagia often take several months to resolve after surgery.
In our recent clinical experience, patients who undergo radiofrequency ablation of the thyroid have rapid decrease in the nodule volume.
As volume reduces symptoms from this enlargement resolve in a very short period as compared to surgery. This needs to be quantified in a scientific fashion.
At the Thyroid Nodule Treatment Center, we will be studying the effects of RFA on all patients regarding their swallowing symptoms. We will have all patients complete surveys of their symptoms before and after their procedure, and in subsequent visits. This will help validate and measure the long lasting effects of RFA with symptoms that alter quality of life.
Thank you in advance for your participation in this valuable study.