Jul 9, 2024 A Minimally Invasive Solution for Benign Thyroid Nodules: Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)

New Brunswick, N.J., July 9, 2024 – The thyroid, a key part of the endocrine system, is a small gland at the base of your neck that produces a hormone essential for controlling your body's metabolism. Thyroid nodules, or growths on the thyroid, are very common, and present in about half of the population. Most of these nodules are benign (non-cancerous). However, even benign nodules may cause symptoms such as pressure in the neck or difficulty swallowing. Traditionally, these symptomatic nodules were removed via a surgical procedure. However, recent advances in medical technology now allow experts to treat benign thyroid nodules using a minimally invasive, non-surgical treatment known as thyroid radiofrequency ablation (RFA).

What is Thyroid RFA?

Thyroid radiofrequency ablation is an office-based procedure designed to treat benign thyroid nodules by using energy to dissolve them under image guidance. “The process is quite straightforward,” notes Dr. Toni Beninato, MD, MS, FACS, an endocrine surgeon in the Endocrine and Neuroendocrine Tumor Program at Rutgers Cancer Institute and RWJBarnabas Health. “Patients come into the office, receive a local anesthetic, and we perform the ablation under image guidance. Most patients are surprised at how quick and painless the procedure is, and they can go home the same day.”

Preparation: The neck area is thoroughly cleaned, and a local anesthetic is injected to numb both the neck and the thyroid.

Procedure: Under image guidance, a needle is inserted into the thyroid nodule. Energy is then directed through the needle to the nodule, effectively dissolving the cells inside.

Post-Procedure: After the ablation, the patient is monitored in the office for a short period before being allowed to go home. No scars are left after the procedure, and the nodule gradually decreases in size over several months. Follow-up appointments are scheduled to track this progress.

Benefits and Uniqueness of Thyroid RFA

Thyroid RFA offers several advantages over traditional surgical methods:

  • Non-Surgical: This in-office procedure does not require surgery, avoiding the need for a hospital visit or general anesthesia.
  • Minimally Invasive: The process leaves no scars and involves minimal recovery time compared to traditional surgery.
  • Preserves Thyroid Function: Unlike thyroid surgery, which can impact thyroid function, RFA is less likely to affect how your thyroid works.
  • Effective: Patients can expect at least a 50 percent reduction in the size of the nodule over several months.

“In the past, the only option for patients with benign thyroid nodules was to undergo surgery to remove half of their thyroid. Now, with the advent of Thyroid RFA, for appropriate patients the treatment is far more convenient and less invasive, significantly improving patient comfort and recovery,” says Beninato, who is also an associate professor of Surgery at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. “Thyroid RFA represents a significant advancement in the field of endocrine surgery. It offers a less invasive alternative to surgery, improving the quality of life for many patients.”

Learn more about this procedure offered at Rutgers Cancer Institute, the state’s leading cancer program and only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center together with RWJBarnabas Health: Thyroid Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)

For journalists – contact:
Krista Didzbalis 
Corporate Communications Specialist