Thyroid Radiofrequency Ablation RFA of Thyroid Nodules:
It is getting ready for primetime in the USA but still needs FDA approval, clinical trials and reimbursement codes.
Yes we are getting close with two centers beginning to treat cash paying patients only because there is no codes for medicare or insurance payments reimbursement.
Both trained in Korea and one offers payment plans even.
- Clinical trials and treatment of 5000 patients in Italy and Korea have shown low complication rate and up to 80% average shrinkage of benign thyroid nodules.
- There are no clinical trial results in the USA.
- Only a few patients have been treated by RFA.
- Mayo clinic treated 15 with a large probe RFA system.
- Korean small probe systems are new to the USA and are the system of choice for thyroid nodules and cancer.
- There are two centers in the US that has the experience or expertise to do thyroid RFA at present.
- More studies done in the USA are needed before thyroid RFA can be an alternative to surgery for most patients.
- There is no payment system by medicare and some are using outside companies to allow patients to make payments.
- With the help of the Radiology and endocrine societies proper studies and training programs can begin to have experienced operators enter the field and treat patients with low complications and good results.
- Until that time be aware that there will be some operators with minimal training offering thyroid RFA in the USA before adequate local studies are available.
- Until that time I will continue to train endocrinologists in ethanol and RFA in a one on one basis until AACE offers certification courses and workshops.
- Also I will still send my patients to Italy or Korea where the expert operators with vast personal experience are located.
- The two centers with experience in thyroid RFA can be referral centers in the USA but the FDA has not approved RFA for thyroid nodules just soft tissue use.
- These two are doing RFA with soft tissue as the justification. It is close to an off label use of the system.
- For details call 31–393-8860 or [email protected]