Thyroid ablation is a percutaneous treatment in which a needle is precisely introduced inside the thyroid nodule to apply thermal energy and destroy the tissue. It does not require surgery, does not use radiation, because it is done with ultrasound and is performed under local anesthesia or minimal sedation.
When is this treatment indicated?
This technique is mainly applied in patients with benign thyroid tumors associated with a clinic, which may be dysphonia, dysphagia, foreign body sensation, aesthetic problems or nodule growth. All patients must undergo a fine needle puncture to confirm or exclude the benignity of the nodule.
Other indications are the treatment of hyperfunctioning nodules of any size, non-functioning nodules larger than 2 cm, or as an alternative to surgical treatment in selected cases (refusal of surgery or patients at high surgical risk). The ablative technique does not exclude the possibility of future surgeries.
How is it performed and what steps should the patient follow before ablation?
It is performed by an interventional radiologist under local anesthesia or minimal sedation and ultrasound guidance. No surgery is performed and it is done on an outpatient basis, which facilitates a quick recovery of the patient. We avoid the use of radiation and the healthy tissue not affected by the thyroid nodule is preserved.
The patient will be evaluated in a multidisciplinary committee and later in consultation with the radiologist who will perform the test. A previous planning ultrasound is necessary and a medical history must be taken. A fine needle puncture of the nodules to be treated and a complete blood test must have been performed prior to treatment.
How are the results? What guidelines should the patient follow once the ablation has been performed?
Thyroid ablation is a safe and effective technique as stated in the literature.
Once the procedure has been performed, the patient will be under observation for two hours to monitor possible complications, which are less than 1% and always less than surgical complications.
The patient may present hematoma or pain in the puncture area, which with prescribed medication is resolved in the vast majority of cases.
The patient should receive a follow-up imaging, analytical and medical recommendations at the end of the procedure according to their characteristics.