Patient Resources

Resources for patients with Thyroid Disease.

Frequently asked questions

Is RFA covered by medical insurance?

Because Insurance plans and benefits are always changing, it is recommended that you patients, care providers, and Insurance Company work to verify coverage. In many cases, Thyroid RFA is an out-of-pocket expense, though Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and Health Savings Accounts (HSA) may be used.

Do all physicians offer RFA?

Radiofrequency ablation is a relatively new procedure in the USA, so not all physicians offer it. We recommend using the Physician Locator to find a nearby specialist that has been trained on the procedure. We also recommend speaking with care providers about RFA, and referring them to this Site.

Is RFA painful?

A local anesthetic is used to make the patient as comfortable as possible. An ice pack may also be applied if needed.

Will there be any scarring?

The RFA procedure uses a thin needle to safely deliver energy to the nodule(s). Unlike traditional surgery, since no incision is made, the small mark made by the needle resolves in a few days leaving little to no visible marking.

How long does the procedure take?

Including preparation time, the treatment time will depend on the size and location of the thyroid nodule(s), but will be done in approximately 30 minutes.

How many treatments are necessary?

Studies have shown that most nodules of 4cm or smaller can be treated in a single session, though each patient is different. Repeated procedures may be needed for larger nodules, cases where there are a larger number of nodules, or when nodules are close to certain anatomies, like vocal cord nerves.

Is there any follow-up care?

After the procedure, Patients are typically monitored every few months to ensure that symptoms are resolved.

Can RFA treat thyroid cancer?

Outside of the US, RFA for certain thyroid cancers is considered safe and effective. An international consensus approved by European Thyroid Association, American Head and Neck Society, and many other thyroid associations published a study on its efficacy4. However, at present the US has not published clinical guidelines on its efficacy, so most physicians treat benign nodules only.

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