The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in front of your neck and is a part of the human endocrine system (a network of glands producing hormones that control various functions in the body). The thyroid gland secretes hormones that are essentially required for your body’s normal metabolism, growth, and development. In some cases, your thyroid gland may malfunction and become underactive (hypothyroid) or overactive (hyperthyroid). Thyroid diseases are quite common and are more likely in females.
In this blog, we will talk about a procedure called “Thyroid Artery Embolization” which is used to treat an overactive thyroid. It is considered when other treatments, such as medication or radioactive iodine therapy, are not suitable or have not been effective. Here let’s take a detailed look at the procedure.
Definition and Purpose
Thyroid Artery Embolization is a medical technique used to treat conditions that result from excessive production of thyroid hormones such as thyroid nodules and hyperthyroidism. In this procedure, one or more of the arteries that provide blood to the thyroid gland are intentionally blocked (embolized) aiming to reduce the blood supply to the gland. This helps limit the hormone production and thus subside the symptoms resulting from a hyperactive thyroid such as rapid heart rate, weight loss, anxiety, and heat intolerance. It is a less invasive method to manage hyperthyroidism without the need for surgery. It helps preserve the function of the gland while reducing its activity.
What are the Alternative Treatment Options?
Although Thyroid Artery Embolization is a novel approach to treat many problems and thyroid-related issues, depending upon the individual’s circumstances and doctor’s recommendation there are a few similar options available such as:
Medications: Your doctor will prescribe you some anti-thyroid medicines, these medicines will slow down the activity of an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).
Radioactive Iodine Therapy: The therapy uses radioactive iodine to kill the overactive cells of the thyroid and helps in reducing the size of the enlarged thyroid gland.
Thyroidectomy: Thyroidectomy is a surgical procedure that is done to remove all parts of the thyroid gland. Thyroidectomy is often considered by doctors as a solution to treat thyroid nodules or thyroid cancer.
Here’s what to expect before and during the procedure:
Before The Procedure
The Day of the Procedure
Thyroid artery embolization is considered a minimally invasive and relatively safe procedure. You may discuss any doubts or queries with your surgeon well in advance, to have a safe procedure and recovery.
After the completion of the procedure, the patients will require a proper follow-up and post-care routine to ensure a smooth recovery. Following are the steps to be followed in the aftercare phase.
Thyroid Artery Embolization provides a number of advantages and benefits. The following are some of the unique benefits and advantages of thyroid artery embolization:
Thyroid Artery Embolization is typically regarded as a safe and effective surgery. Here are some of the potential risks associated with the procedure:
The goal of thyroid artery embolization is to shrink the thyroid gland or reduce its activity, alleviating symptoms and improving the patient's quality of life. The procedure has shown promising results in managing thyroid disorders, especially in cases where conventional treatments like medication or surgery may not be suitable. Thyroid artery embolization is generally considered safe, with a low risk of complications, and it can often be performed on an outpatient basis.
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While complications are rare, some potential side effects or complications can include soreness at the incision site, mild pain, or swelling. More serious complications are uncommon but can include infection or damage to nearby structures.
The effectiveness of the procedure can vary depending on the specific condition and individual factors. It is often successful in reducing symptoms and can be a valuable treatment option, especially for those who have not responded well to medication.
Coverage varies by insurance provider and policy. It is essential to check with your insurance company to determine whether thyroid gland embolization is covered and what costs you may be responsible for.
The primary benefit of thyroid gland embolization is the reduction of symptoms associated with thyroid conditions, such as hyperthyroidism or the shrinkage of goiters or nodules. It can provide an alternative to surgery or long-term medication management.
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