Thyroid Nodule Ablation FAQs

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Am I a candidate for image-guided ablation?

You have a good chance of being able to have thyroid nodule ablation if:

  • You have thyroid nodules that aren’t cancerous (are benign)
  • Your thyroid nodules cause uncomfortable symptoms
  • You can’t have traditional surgery

How long does the treatment take?

The procedure itself takes less than 60 minutes. Time varies depending on the number or size of nodules. Monitoring before and after can add another 60-120 minutes.

Does insurance cover the cost?

Image-guided ablation using heat is rarely covered. However, in most cases, chemical ablation using ethanol is covered and approved. Check with your insurance company.

Can I take my usual medications on the day of my operation?

Yes. You can take them after the procedure without delay.

Is the procedure risky?

All procedures carry some risks. Specifically, bleeding, infection, changes in thyroid function, nerve damage or an allergic reaction to medication are possible.

What is recovery like?

You should be able to do all your normal activities by the next day. Most patients can return to eating normally by that same evening.

What can I do to help with my recovery?

Just relax and keep your regular daily activities as much as you can tolerate. In general, thyroid ablation shouldn’t weaken your strength. Tell your provider immediately if anything changes.

What changes will happen to my thyroid nodule?

Your nodule or lump should shrink over time. Sometimes, more than one ablation procedure may be needed to get rid of your thyroid nodule. If you notice that the nodule starts growing again, tell your provider immediately.

Do I need a follow-up visit and if so, when?

We’ll need to test your thyroid function and monitor the nodule size at 3, 6 and 12 months after the procedure. You’ll need follow-ups after that every 6-12 months.