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  • Writer's pictureDr. Richard Harding

Thyroid Surgery vs. RFA

What is the difference between a patient's experience with thyroid surgery vs. thyroid Radiofrequency ablation (RFA)?


Dr. Richard Harding explains the process in this video:

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive technique that uses heat to destroy benign thyroid nodules. It has been widely used in Asia and Europe for over a decade, and it is now gaining popularity in the United States. RFA has several advantages over surgery, such as preserving the normal thyroid function, avoiding surgical scars and complications, reducing the cost and recovery time, and improving the cosmetic outcome.


RFA uses a thin needle electrode that is inserted into the nodule under ultrasound guidance. A high-frequency electric current is then passed through the electrode, creating heat that destroys the nodule tissue. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia and takes about 15 to 30 minutes per nodule. The patient can go home the same day and resume normal activities within a few days. The nodule size and symptoms usually decrease significantly within a few months after RFA.


RFA is suitable for patients who have benign thyroid nodules that cause pressure symptoms, such as difficulty swallowing, breathing, or speaking, or that are cosmetically bothersome. RFA can also be used for patients who have recurrent nodules after surgery or who are not good candidates for surgery due to medical conditions or personal preference. RFA is not recommended for patients who have malignant or suspicious nodules, as they may require complete removal of the thyroid gland and lymph nodes.


RFA is a safe and effective alternative to surgery for benign thyroid nodules. It has been shown to reduce the nodule volume by 50% to 90%, improve the quality of life and satisfaction of patients, and have a low complication rate of less than 1%.


If you are interested in learning more about RFA or scheduling a consultation, please contact us today.

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