Mount Sinai West has begun offering a minimally invasive procedure to treat non-cancerous thyroid nodules that are symptomatic and would have otherwise required invasive surgery for removal. The procedure is called radio frequency ablation (RFA). It offers eligible patients a much quicker recovery, less pain and risk of infection, and no scarring.
The thyroid nodules
Mount Sinai West is one of only two hospitals in New York State offering this procedure. Catherine Sinclair, MD, Associate Professor of Otolaryngology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Director of Head and Neck Surgery at Mount Sinai West, perform the first procedures the week of August 18.
RFA is perform through the skin using a thin, one millimeter probe. Surgeons use guide ultrasound to place the probe into the thyroid nodule, then deliver radio-frequency current to heat up and shrink the nodule. RFA can be done on patients with large non-cancerous nodules that cause swallowing, voice, breathing, and neck discomfort.
With RFA, patients can return to normal activity the day after the procedure and can exercise within several days. Additionally, they are extremely unlikely to require permanent thyroid hormone medication. Patients who undergo standard thyroid nodule surgery typically can’t resume; so normal activity for at least a month and 20 to 30 percent of these patients require thyroid medication.
Impressive nodule shrinkage
“Radiofrequency ablation for thyroid nodules has perform in Korea for over a decade and throughout Europe; also their outcomes are excellent. The publish data shows impressive nodule shrinkage rates of more than 80 percent with RFA that is maintain over years of follow-up,” explain Dr. Sinclair. “Thyroid nodules are very common; also although many people will never require any intervention for their nodules; there is a significant minority who will seek treatment due to symptoms. They expect RFA to be a terrific new option for these patients.”
Mount Sinai West is the first and only hospital in the world using specialize; also continuous nerve monitoring during the radiofrequency ablation to prevent vocal cord damage and hoarseness, which are a potential risk during both RFA and standard surgery for thyroid nodule removal. Doctors use a handheld probe to stimulate each sensory and motor nerve fiber to prevent injuries.
Typically, doctors monitor these nerves intermittently by stimulating them at various times through the procedure. But with intermittent monitoring, a possible nerve injury can be missed. Continuous stimulation allows doctors to see damage before it occurs and take preventive measures. Patients with large benign thyroid nodules that can be felt and that cause pain, difficulty swallowing, or difficulty breathing, are candidates for RFA. It is generally perform with the patients under general anesthesia.