Thyroid nodules (in the thyroid gland – a gland found at the front part of the neck, on the windpipe) are a common problem found in 15-30% of the population, particularly women. When the nodule is large, it can cause difficulties in swallowing or breathing or an aesthetic problem.
In most cases the nodules are benign, and in around 5% of over 50s there will be nodules that can be felt, although the nodule can sometimes only be seen in a neck ultrasound. Of all nodules, 7-15% will be cancerous. Diagnosing between a cancerous and benign nodule is made with the help of ultrasound, and, if needed, FNA (ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration) biopsy.
Until recently, treatment for a symptomatic nodule was usually through open surgery on the neck, but in recent years, particularly in Europe, the use of radiofrequency technologies – that is not considered surgical – has become common. The Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery Unit at Hillel Yaffe is one of the first in Israel to have begun using this method.
Dr. Galit Avior removing a nodule using radiofrequency at the Hillel Yaffe Medical Center
How is it done?
The use of radiofrequency is similar to ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration biopsy. The main difference is that in this case, the inserted needle sends radiofrequency to the nodule, causing it to become heated and shrink. After the procedure, the patient feels localized heat and there are sometimes localized signs of redness and swelling that disappear after several days.
The advantages of the method are a lack of scarring on the neck, fewer surgical complications, and a short hospitalization. Likewise, it has been proven that the radiofrequency continues to have an effect even months after the procedure, meaning that around six months after treatment the nodule is likely to disappear almost completely.
Dr. Galit Avior, a senior physician in Hillel Yaffe's Otolaryngology Unit, who carries out the procedure, notes that there must be follow-up since if the treated nodule was very large, it may be necessary to repeat the procedure.
For additional information and an examination to determine suitability for the surgery, please make telephone contact at 04-7744664, or through the appointment call center at *6742, or by email to Rachely@hy.health.gov.il or email@example.com.
Please bring a referral from your doctor and a financial commitment form from your medical insurer (HMO).