Thyroid ablation techniques have been used for decades in other parts of the world, and now it is becoming increasingly popular in the United States. Two experts in this field, Dr. Suliburk and Dr. Grogan from Baylor St Luke’s Medical Center in Houston, shared their knowledge and experience about this innovative treatment with interviewer Philip James.
Dr. Suliburk and Dr. Grogan are both full-time surgeons at Baylor College of Medicine, working at Baylor St Luke’s Medical Center. They provide expert-level, high-volume care for patients with thyroid, parathyroid, and adrenal diseases through their thyroid and parathyroid center. Their commitment to quality care is reflected in their development of patient-centered treatment plans that utilize innovative, minimally invasive therapies, whenever possible.
Thyroid ablation, specifically percutaneous thyroid RFA ablation or radiofrequency ablation, is a new and exciting technique used to treat thyroid diseases. Dr. Suliburk and Dr. Grogan offer this innovative treatment to patients who are properly selected for thyroid cancer defensive therapy, which is less than 1.5 centimeters, with definitive ultrasound imaging showing no involvement of any other lymph nodes, and is an isolated, solitary cancer, not multiple cancers throughout the thyroid.
When it comes to the role of an academic surgeon or a surgeon who works in a medical school, Dr. Suliburk and Dr. Grogan pointed out that it varies. They are both full-time clinical faculty who run a high-volume thyroid, parathyroid, and adrenal practice. While they are surgeons, they advocate for saving the thyroid and offering every option available to preserve it. They are dedicated to bringing the state-of-the-art treatment options to their patients, whether that’s surgical procedures or percutaneous image-guided procedures.
Dr. Suliburk and Dr. Grogan emphasized that they are in an era of shared decision-making when it comes to developing treatment plans for patients. They respect their patients’ values and desires and offer customized treatment plans that include ablative, percutaneously ablative therapies for patients who are acceptable candidates. Traditionally, people have limited who is an acceptable candidate, but because they work at a state-of-the-art facility, they are always pushing the boundaries of where they can apply ablative therapies.
When it comes to the future of thyroid ablation, Dr. Suliburk and Dr. Grogan pointed out that insurance coverage is a significant issue. While they believe that insurance companies will eventually come around to covering thyroid ablation, it will likely take some time. In the meantime, they will continue to offer innovative treatment options to their patients and push the boundaries of what is possible in the field of thyroid ablation.
In conclusion, thyroid ablation is a new and exciting technique that offers patients innovative, minimally invasive treatment options. Dr. Suliburk and Dr. Grogan are at the forefront of this field, offering their patients the most advanced technical procedures and state-of-the-art treatment options. They advocate for shared decision-making and customized treatment plans that include ablative percutaneously ablative therapies for patients who are acceptable candidates. While insurance coverage remains a significant issue, they are confident that, eventually, insurance companies will recognize the value of thyroid ablation and cover it for their patients.
About Dr. James W. Suliburk
Dr. James Suliburk is a board-certified surgeon specializing in the treatment of tumors of the thyroid, parathyroid, and adrenal gland in Houston and the surrounding area (Bryan-College Station, Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi and Beaumont). As a fellowship-trained endocrine surgeon, he specializes in the care of patients with thyroid nodules, goiter, Graves’ disease, thyroid cancer, hyperparathyroidism, adrenal masses, pheochromocytoma, Cushing’s, and Conn’s diseases. His advanced surgical expertise includes minimally invasive parathyroidectomy and thyroidectomy, traditional open thyroidectomy, central, selective and modified radical neck dissection, single incision laparoscopic adrenalectomy, and traditional laparoscopic adrenalectomy.
View Full Profile: Dr. James W. Suliburk
About Dr. Raymon Grogan
Dr. Raymon H. Grogan is a board certified surgeon specializing in Endocrine Surgery for the Houston and surrounding area (Bryan-College Station, Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi and Beaumont). He has helped co-author several national guidelines in the area of endocrine surgery and is a well-respected surgeon nationally internationally. In addition to having expertise in the traditional surgical approaches to thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal, and endocrine pancreas diseases Dr. Grogan is a pioneer of techniques for operating on the thyroid and parathyroid. He is one of only a few experts in the United States on Transoral Endocrine Surgery (TES), a novel approach to surgery for both thyroid and parathyroid disease that leaves no visible scar on the neck. Dr. Grogan was one of the first surgeons to perform this operation in the United States, and the first surgeon to perform this operation in Chicago, the Midwest, and Texas. He is also an expert in other forms of minimally invasive thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal surgery.
View Full Profile: Dr. Raymon H. Grogan
Baylor College of Medicine – Thyroid & Parathyroid Center
The Thyroid & Parathyroid Center at Baylor Medicine is a world-class medical facility in Houston, TX, where patients can be seen simultaneously by a surgeon and endocrinologist for treatment of both benign and malignant tumors of the thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal, and endocrine pancreas. World-renowned endocrinologists work closely with a multidisciplinary team including specialists in surgery, radiology, pathology, nuclear medicine, ENT and oncology to provide you a personal treatment plan, all under one roof. These doctors work together for one, cohesive treatment plan.
From routine medical endocrinology to complex cancer care, to surgery of the Thyroid, Parathyroid, Adrenal and Endocrine Pancreas, the Thyroid & Parathyroid Center offers the highest quality patient care with excellent outcomes. The center is located at the Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at McNair Campus.
View Full Profile: Baylor College of Medicine – Thyroid & Parathyroid Center
About Philip James
In 2013, his laryngeal nerve was severed, shoulder nerve damaged, parathyroids ruined, and residual cancer left behind — all for a 1 cm thyroid nodule.
Later, a vocal cord implant was inserted to help him speak.
The word he uses to describe his work as patient advocate is, ‘tonglen’. Or, using his pain and hardship to help others.