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Graphic of thyroid nodule radiofrequency ablation for benign nodules

What is a thyroid nodule?

A thyroid nodule is an area of thyroid tissue that has developed abnormally. It can be solid or liquid (cystic)Typically, most nodules are benign, although they should be evaluated for cancer if the ultrasound suggests the need. Thyroid nodules come in varying sizesSome may cause alterations in your thyroid hormone levels. Occasionally they present with symptoms of pressure, compression, or hoarseness.

What is thyroid nodule radiofrequency ablation?

Thyroid nodule radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive, non-surgical method for treating benign thyroid nodules.  Typically, nodules have to be proven benign by sampling, must be within an ideal size range, and preferably solid. Under ultrasound guidance, with injection of local anesthetic around the thyroid, a small needle is inserted into the nodule.  The tip of the needle generates an electrical current which causes it to form a small circular area of heat. This is used to precisely ablate the inside of the nodule, under continuous ultrasound guidance.  Once the nodule is treated, it will begin to shrink over time.

What is thyroid nodule radiofrequency ablation?

How are thyroid nodules treated?

Thyroid nodule treatment is highly dependent on the workup of the nodule and whether it is benign or malignantMalignant nodules are typically treated with surgery (patient specific circumstances may change this)Benign nodules have multiple options ranging from surveillance to treatment depending on patient preferences and symptoms.     

Often thyroid nodules can present with loss of cosmesis or symptoms. Until now, the typical approaches to treatment were continued surveillance, in cystic (liquid containing nodules) injection of ethanol to close the nodule, or surgical removalA new, safe option that is now available is thyroid nodule radiofrequency ablation. 

Why interventional radiology at Fairfax Vascular Center?

Interventional radiologists are the pioneers of image guided intervention.  The interventional radiologists at Fairfax Vascular Center (FVC) have the largest organ ablation experience in the region and are proud to pioneer the thyroid ablation program in the DMV area. 

We work in a multidisciplinary fashion with our subspecialized thyroid imaging radiologists as well as our endocrinologists and endocrine surgeons to make sure that our patients not only get the best care, but the best outcomes possible. 

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Interventional radiologist discussing non-surgical treatment of benign thyroid nodules with patient