150 Years of Thyroid Surgery and Still there are Risks
Thyroid surgery was the main treatment for large goiters and cystic thyroid nodules for 150 years. The early results were bad at best and carried a high death rate. Many died on the table from blood loss, others died later from infections.It was so dangerous that only a large goiter that was choking the patient were candidates for surgery. Yes, today the chance of dying is very low, but the complications still are happening. Pain,fatigue, scars, loss of work, and damage to parathyroids and recurrent nerves is still about 5-10 %. This does not count the hospital stay and possible infections. In many areas of thyroid disease we have moved beyond surgery to non-invasive methods. However, the age old problem of a large goiter or cyst still gets sent from primary care to the local surgeon. We have returned to the pre-suergery days when cysts were drained and filled with iodine. This was not the best because it was before antiseptic technique was universal. In 2017 we need are primary care physicians to think of alternative treatments for large goite nodules and cysts. Ethanol ablation (PEI) for thyroid and parathyroid cysts is a preferred therapy method to surgery now. Do not do a knee jerk referral to the surgery for this easily treated disease by PEI. Finally since 1871 surgeons have struggled with large symptomatic nodular goiters and in 2017 they have improved in all areas but still have significant complications when they operate. The availability of another non-invasive,non-surgical therapy option is here. Radiofrequency ablation RFA, is a safe easy way to treat the big benign symptomatic nodule. It was almost universally fatal surgery in 1871, but still is a major surgery with significant complication rates. I am sending my referral patients after evaluation temporarily to have RFA in Europe or Korea. They only stay for several days and return to be followed in the USA. FDA approval of RFA for thyroid nodules is pending.
Call Matthew for details of my Ethanol treatment and my referral program for RFA in Europe. 310-393-8860
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Image of large Nodule: Surgery or outpatient Ethanol or RFA? You decide.