Treating Thyroid Nodules Without Surgery: An Insightful Discussion with Dr. Vaninder Dhillon
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The thyroid gland, a butterfly-shaped organ in the neck, is known to develop nodules or growths. While these nodules are often benign, they can sometimes cause cosmetic concerns or other symptoms for patients. Traditionally, surgical removal was the primary solution. But a revolutionary alternative, thyroid ablation, offers a less invasive approach, preserving both the thyroid gland and its functions.
In a recent episode of the Doctor Thyroid podcast, Philip James interviewed Dr. Vaninder Dhillon, a reputed professional from Johns Hopkins, to delve deep into thyroid ablation and what patients can expect post-treatment.
A Non-Surgical Solution: Thyroid Ablation
Thyroid ablation is a minimally invasive treatment targeting the thyroid nodule directly. The most common type of ablation used is radiofrequency ablation, which employs a specific type of energy to address the nodule without affecting the rest of the thyroid gland.
Unlike surgeries where parts of the gland might need to be removed, causing hormonal disruptions, ablation offers the benefit of not depriving patients of their thyroid or its hormones.
The Journey of Nodule Reduction
Dr. Dhillon explained that while the treatment does not make the nodule vanish instantly, the goal is to reduce its size and volume significantly. Using radiofrequency ablation, patients can expect a volume reduction of 60 to 80 percent within six months of the treatment, especially for nodules less than 20 milliliters cubed in size.
However, it’s crucial to note that the timeline and effectiveness may vary based on the nodule’s initial size and location. Anatomical considerations also play a vital role in the treatment process.
Addressing Both Benign and Malignant Nodules
While the guidelines discussed focus primarily on benign nodules, the treatment is also a consideration for malignant nodules, especially if the patient has recurrent disease or is at high risk for another surgery.
Post-ablation, patients typically return to Dr. Dhillon’s office at intervals of one month, three months, six months, and a year. These follow-ups ensure that the volume of the nodule is reducing and that the thyroid hormone levels remain stable.
Dr. Dhillon stressed the importance of patients understanding that the primary goal of ablation is to reduce the size of the nodule over the long term. The treatment provides an excellent alternative for patients, offering them the opportunity to direct treatment to specific nodules without the risks or uncertainties linked with surgical procedures.
The discussion with Dr. Dhillon offers a beacon of hope to countless patients grappling with thyroid nodules, giving them insight into a less invasive solution that puts their well-being first. As medical innovations like thyroid ablation become more mainstream, patients have more choices, ensuring they receive the best care tailored to their unique needs.
For more details about Dr. Dhillon and her contributions to the thyroid community, including her presentations at the American Thyroid Association conference, readers can refer to the links provided in the podcast episode description.
About Dr. Vaninder Dhillon
Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery
Vaninder “Vinny” K. Dhillon, M.D., is an assistant professor of otolaryngology – head and neck surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, specializing in both children and adults. She practices out of Johns Hopkins Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Dhillon is also affiliated with Johns Hopkins Hospital and Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, as well as Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Dhillon has an expertise in endocrine surgery, laryngology, otolaryngology, parathyroid diseases and surgery, swallowing disorders, thyroid diseases and surgery, and voice problems.
Dr. Dhillon earned her medical degree from Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California. She completed a residency in otolaryngology at Los Angeles County and University of Southern California Medical Center.
View Full Profile: https://www.rfamd.com/vaninder-dhillon/
About Philip James
As the host of the popular RFAMD and Doctor Thyroid podcasts, Philip James remains committed to sharing inspiring stories, valuable insights, and groundbreaking discoveries in the world of healthcare, making a positive impact on the lives of countless listeners.
Philip’s thought-provoking interviews have covered a wide range of healthcare topics, from cutting-edge technologies and surgical advancements to patient experiences and the impact of medical research on society.
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