Abu Dhabi: An elderly patient in Abu Dhabi has successfully had his bening thyroid nodules treated with a radiofrequency and microwave ablation procedure.
The procedure on the 75-year-old man was carried out at Tawam Hospital, a facility in Al Ain that is part of the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha) network. An hour after the treatment, the patient was discharged, the hospital said recently.
“I have been suffering for several years, being unable to perform basic functions such as swallowing. It’s been terrible. Today, following the procedure, my life has changed substantially. I am immensely grateful to the team at Tawam Hospital for their professionalism, compassion, and expertise,” the patient said.
Historically, surgery has been the only treatment for symptomatic and enlarging thyroid nodules, and patients would inevitably end up having total or hemi thyroidectomy followed by life-long hormonal replacement therapy. However Thyroid Radiofrequency and Microwave Ablation is a non-invasive procedure that uses friction heat to destroy tumor tissue. Over time, the body absorbs the ablated tissue, which reduces the size of the nodule.
This procedure has several benefits including greater than 50 per cent reduction in nodule size, and significant improvement in obstructive symptoms, including improved swallowing and a reduction in neck bulging.
Dr Bachar Afandi, chief of endocrinology at Tawam, said: “At Seha, we are constantly in search of providing new breakthroughs for our patients that can help improve outcomes and quality of life. By offering this new treatment at Tawam Hospital, we truly believe it will change the management of benign thyroid nodules, improving outcomes for a subset of patients with symptomatic, non-cancerous thyroid nodules, when surgery is considered too risky, or rejected by patients. Additionally, patients who undergo the procedure are extremely unlikely to require permanent thyroid hormone medication.”
Dr Jamal AlKoteesh, chairman of clinical imaging at the hospital, and Seha’s head of interventional radiology clinical reference, said: “There is tremendous potential for this emerging technology. This procedure isn’t widely available yet outside major hospitals, and it won’t be appropriate for everyone, but it gives patients a reasonable alternative to surgery. It is not as definitive as surgery, but it’s still very effective with minimal side effects. Thyroid nodules are very common and, although many people will never require any intervention for their nodules, there is a significant minority who will seek treatment due to symptoms. I expect Radiofrequency Ablation to be a transformative new option for patients.”
Thyroid Radiofrequency and Microwave Ablation should be opted for patients at high surgical risk and those that display thyroid compression symptoms like airway compression, hoarseness due to vocal cord paralysis, and difficulty in swallowing due to esophageal compression.
The procedure is also recommended for patients exhibiting cosmesis, or appearance of a lump or bulge in the neck, enlarging thyroid nodules with surgery ruled out, autonomously functioning thyroid nodules (AFTN), recurrent thyroid cancers, or those with high surgical risk.