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10 thoughts on “Non-surgical therapies for thyroid nodules and cysts”
Since I first read about them online a few years ago, I’ve been wondering the same thing: why is laser ablation therapy for thyroid nodules not available in Canada yet? In the meantime, my biggest benign thyroid nodule continues to grow. I mentioned it to my endocrinologist a couple of years ago and he’d never even heard of laser ablation being done on thyroid nodules! This has to change. How do we make this available in Canada?
Thanks for sharing your experience. All I can do is offer a general suggestion on how it might happen. I think there would first need to be doctors interested in performing it. It would need to be financially feasible as well as possible within a health care system. Either endocrinologists would be willing to refer patients, or the practitioner would need permission to charge a fee and advertise to patients who then independently express interest in having it done and paying. The practitioners would have to look into the regulations on such procedures here, and it would likely need to be done in a clinic that already does similar procedures. Experts from outside the country would need to be involved in training the practitioners here.
RFA is an extremely effective treatment. I suffered a partial thyroidectomy, which sent me into overt hypothyroidism after I was advised(lied to) that the other half would pick up the slack. Fast forward into the future I ended up with an excruciating fibroid, like having the hypo wasn’t enough misery already, that I had treated with RFA. After searching for one out of only a handful of Drs performing it here in the states I paid out of pocket since my health insurance would only cover a painful myomectomy. With RFA I had zero pain and was back to work in a few days. It is the future of noninvasive surgery and it’s baffling that it isn’t being performed more often, especially over what I consider outdated and barbaric surgeries only meant to leave patients with long and painful recoveries.
Do you mind if I ask which doctor you saw for RFA and how much it cost? I’ve been considering traveling to the US and paying out of pocket to have it done.
Did you ever get a reply to your question? I am in your identical position and am extremely eager to have a thyroid RFA for my growing benign thyroid nodules. I reside in Ontario, Canada. Thank you kindly. Any information you can provide would be most appreciated.
No, I never did get a reply but I’ve been researching options in the US for a while now and, so far, have spoken with a few doctors who perform RFA on thyroid nodules there.
One is in Santa Monica, California (Dr. Melanie Goldfarb):
and another in Des Moines, Iowa (Dr. Simon Wright):
There are more than just these 2 doctors performing the procedure. Just google “radio frequency ablation thyroid” and then the name of a state. There seem to be more and more doctors as time passes and as this procedure becomes more common, which is also why it’s so infuriating that it isn’t yet available in Canada.
Because the procedure is relatively new, I’ve realized that it’s important to ask doctors how long they have been performing it, how many people they’ve done it on so far, as well as all of the other usual questions. Prices also seem to range substantially. The doctor in California quoted $5500 US, and the doctor in Des Moines quoted $3000 US. It seems to be substantially pricier if the procedure is done in a hospital setting versus a private practice.
Let me know if you have any other questions. Good luck to you!
Thank you for this informative reply, nadynek! I get people emailing me all the time asking where they can have this procedure done, and now this post can help those people. (Sorry it took a while to approve your reply because it had a couple of hyperlinks, so it was awaiting manual approval. – TSS
Linmari, I have just approved a reply with US physician info. I have not yet heard of any Canadian locations offering it. Perhaps one can do research into potential surgical centers in Canada and persuade them to learn and offer the procedure. – TSS
I was researching RFA treatment in the US in 2019, and was hoping to get the treatment done in 2020, but then the pandemic hit. I’m so angry that there are no doctors in Canada who are willing to learn how to do this procedure. There are more and more doctors in the US starting offer RFA and yes, you have to do your homework on how experienced they are at performing the procedure, as with any operation, there are risks. There is a FACEBOOK group called Thyroid RFA and PEI Testimonials that has a growing list of US doctors, some of which are affiliated with well known hospitals, and international doctors who perform RFA on thyroids. The list of doctors are growing in the US, but in Canada you’d be hard pressed to find one that has even heard of it. So much for continuing education in the profession. All they want to do is to poison the thyroid with radio active iodine, or do a full or partial thyroidectomy. This is so sad.
What more can we as patients do to get this procedure here? What more can this group do, or is planning to do? I think it needs media attention. An online petition is a good start and I’ve signed it, but it needs widespread news coverage to let everyone know that you could potentially save having your thyroid removed with this minimally invasive, yet highly effective, less expensive treatment option.
Thanks for your comment, Lorraine. Yes it is not fair that this nonintrusive procedure is not available in Canada but is growing in the US. If Thyroid Patients Canada were to take action on this front, we’d need some donations and volunteers to raise our capacity, since we are still a very small organization run by volunteers, and this year we just got our bank account set up. I imagine it involves more than just a petition, but also finding out which Canadian surgeons would be able and willing to branch out into this area and get training from the experts, and what provincial health care approvals are needed to offer it. We’d like to do a lot of things to help thyroid patients, including making sure essential thyroid lab tests are available in all provinces. But our goals are bigger than our resources at present. Part of the challenge is that our health care is managed by each province or territory, and some things like this are not likely under the regulation of Health Canada federally.