LASER ABLATION

Avoid surgery with the safest and most effective treatment for benign thyroid nodules

Percutaneous Laser Ablation (PLA)

Dr. Andrade is the first physician in the USA to perform Laser Ablation.

Not too long ago, surgery was the only effective treatment for thyroid conditions, but thanks to medical developments and advanced technology, many thyroid issues can now be treated with non-invasive outpatient procedures.

Dr. Agustin A. Andrade, MD, ECNU is the pioneer in Laser Ablation (PLA) and the first doctor to perform this innovative treatment in the country, so you can expect the highest standards of care when you choose the Thyroid, Parathyroid, and Pituitary Center for Miami.

Laser Ablation is a non-surgical, FDA approved outpatient procedure that focuses on benign nodules of more than or equal to 2 centimeters in size and is performed under local anesthetic. Before this treatment, it’s required that patients have 2 Fine Needle Aspirations of the Thyroid Nodule (FNA) done, in order to make sure the nodules are benign.

Laser Ablation can help you avoid conventional thyroid surgery and abnormal thyroid/parathyroid functions that may occur as a result of it. It’s a non-invasive procedure that allows you to go home and resume your daily activities after just 20 to 40 minutes of post-procedure observation.

What You Need to Know about Laser Ablation

Laser Ablation is an outpatient treatment to reduce the size of benign thyroid nodules that are symptomatic and may cause difficulty swallowing, neck discomfort, or foreign body sensation, as well as for cosmetic reasons.

A patient is given a local anesthetic (this means that the patient is awake without pain). Then, our doctor inserts a thin needle into the nodule through the skin.  A fiber optic is introduced through the needle. This fiber optic delivers laser energy causing heat-induced ablation of the nodule.

This is very unlikely. Laser Ablation has less than 1% chance of causing hypothyroidism, while in conventional surgery, the risk of hypothyroidism goes from a 50% chance if half of the thyroid is removed to 100% if the whole thyroid is removed.

This is a case where the numbers speak for themselves.

Hematoma  1%
Voice change  < 1

Skin burn  0.27%
Vaso Vagal   0.34%

Moderate or severe pain  2.6%
Hypothyroidism  <1%

The time of the procedure could vary between 20 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the nodule.

This non-surgical procedure is only for patients with benign nodules that have:

  • Very large nodules or multiple nodules in one lobe
  • Symptoms such as dysphagia (difficulty swallowing food or liquids), foreign body sensation, discomfort, or cough
  • Cosmetic problems

Laser Ablation is the best treatment for very large nodules or for multiple nodules in one lobe.

The patient will be in observation for 20 to 40 minutes after treatment.

The patient will feel a pressure or burning sensation in the neck, jaw, or chest that will last for a few hours.

Since Laser Ablation was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2018, no University or teaching facility has or is training doctors on this procedure. Therefore, the great majority of physicians in the United States have not been exposed to, or are not yet aware of its existence, as opposed to Europe and Korea where Laser Ablation has been vastly known for the past 20 years.

When you compare both options, the benefits are very clear.

Laser Ablation

  • Local anesthesia
  • 1% risk of nerve damage (voice change)
  • No scarring
  • Outpatient procedure
  • Minimal pain afterward
  • Cost in the United States -- $4,000 to $5,000 (depending of number of optic fibers used)

Surgery

  • General anesthesia
  • 7% to 14% risk of recurrent nerve damage (voice change)
  • Scarring
  • Hospital stay of 1 to 3 days
  • Pain after surgery
  • Cost in the United States -- $14,000 to  $20,000

To find out more about non-surgical Laser Ablation, call our practice and schedule a consultation.