Transforms Thyroid treatment at Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex
A ground-breaking Microwave Ablation of the Thyroid Gland conducted recently at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC) of the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA) is making waves as a revolutionary approach to minimally invasive thyroid treatments. This cutting-edge procedure, the latest in thermal ablation technology, offers a new horizon in addressing benign lesions and select cases of thyroid malignancy.
This procedure, which was recently performed on a 33-year-old female patient, with a progressively enlarging right, benign thyroid mass demonstrated the teamwork of eminent medical specialists. The typical approach for treating thyroid lesions of this kind, according to attending ENT surgeons at EWMSC Drs. Solaiman Juman and Nicholas Figaro, is surgical hemithyroidectomy. However, she requested information about non-surgical alternatives. This led to the engagement of vascular and interventional radiologist Dr. Ashton Ramsundar, who recently returned to Trinidad and Tobago after completing his fellowship in vascular and interventional radiology at the esteemed Singapore General Hospital.
During his fellowship, Dr. Ramsundar had the privilege of training in Interventional Oncology, a subdivision of interventional radiology that treats oncological diseases using, among other innovative modalities, microwave ablation. His proficiency in microwave ablation of many organs, such as the thyroid, liver, kidney, and lung, rendered him a crucial resource during the discussion of this patient’s management.
Microwave ablation in the Public sector
Although microwave ablation was not initially available in the public sector, Mr. Davlin Thomas, the Chief Executive Officer of the North Central Regional Health Authority, played a pivotal role in spearheading this initiative. Mr. Thomas’s commitment to advancing healthcare and his leadership in coordinating efforts were instrumental in bringing this novel procedure to fruition, and has since engaged the procurement process to purchase a new microwave ablation machine to perform various thermal ablation procedures at the EWMSC.
Dr. Ramsundar generously donated his microwave ablation machine and consumables for the procedure, marking a collaborative effort between medical professionals and healthcare leadership. The patient, understanding the potential benefits, readily accepted the offered solution.
Allows same day surgery
The patient was kept cognisant the entire time during the Microwave Ablation procedure, which was performed exclusively under local anaesthetic. Dr. Ramsundar carefully inserted the microwave needle into the thyroid gland with the use of ultrasound guidance, ensuring that the lesion would be destroyed accurately and that the surrounding normal thyroid tissue, blood vessels, and nerves would be preserved. Following the procedure, the patient received short-term monitoring before being released that same day.
Suitable for patients with Implantable devices
Microwave Ablation’s advantages lie in its status as the latest technology for thermal ablation. Providing uniform delivery of heat to the thyroid nodule, this technique efficiently destroys targeted tissues, resulting in a quicker procedure when compared to other thermal ablation techniques. Notably, Microwave Ablation eliminates the need for grounding pads and electric current, making it suitable for patients with implantable cardiac devices and pregnant patients.
Hospital recovery time reduced
Dr. Ramsundar gave a detailed explanation of the process, saying, “The main goal of microwave ablation is to precisely and locally eliminate neoplastic cells while causing the least amount of harm to nearby healthy tissues. It provides an alternative to conventional surgical resection, which helps patients recover more quickly and spend less time in the hospital.”
Proper patient selection and the procedure’s potential to reduce thyroid nodule size over a period of 6–9 months, with complete resolution anticipated for nodules smaller than 4 cm are key factors in its success. An approximate 80% reduction in size is expected for nodules larger than 4 cm.
A new era inthyroid treatment
Microwave Ablation is not only a game-changer in the treatment of thyroid conditions but also holds promise in the broader context of cancer care. Its versatility, repeatability, and compatibility with other modalities such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy make it an invaluable addition to comprehensive cancer care plans.
This ground-breaking Microwave Ablation procedure at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, made possible by the collaborative efforts of medical professionals like Dr. Ashton Ramsundar, Dr. Solaiman Juman and Dr Nicholas Figaro and healthcare leadership under Mr. Davlin Thomas, signifies a new era in thyroid treatment in the NCRHA. This highlights the potential of innovative, minimally invasive techniques within the public healthcare system, providing hope for enhanced patient care and expanded access to advanced medical interventions.