Compared with surgery, the primary advantages of radiofrequency ablation are:
• The potential for fewer complications
• Generally shorter recovery time with a quick return to normal activities
• Increased likelihood of preservation of thyroid function.
The entire procedure takes between fifteen minutes to one hour. Because it is minimally invasive and does not require general anesthesia, you avoid the external scarring of traditional thyroid surgery, and the associated risks of anesthesia. Radio-frequency ablation may also minimize the risk of permanent damage to the vocal cord nerve or to the parathyroid glands.
One of the most meaningful long-term advantages is that you may not need to take lifelong thyroid medication. The treatment preserves healthy thyroid tissue, which allows the thyroid to continue functioning normally — no ongoing medication management, with the difficulties of achieving the correct thyroid hormone dosage.
Radio-frequency ablation is highly effective for benign thyroid nodules. Depending on the type (solid vs. fluid filled vs. a combination of the two), nodules shrink anywhere between 60-90% after one year, with approximately 80% on average.