After percutaneous ablation

Percutaneous ablation for thyroid nodules

Percutaneous ablation is a procedure where we use an electric current to heat nodules (lumps) on your thyroid and destroy them. 

After the procedure, we move you to the recovery area. You may have some swelling and discomfort, but these symptoms should ease quickly.

You need to stay in the recovery area for up to 2 hours, where we monitor you closely. Before you leave the recovery area, we make sure that:

  • you do not feel sick (nausea)
  • you can eat and drink
  • your pain is well controlled

We give you information about aftercare. This includes guidance about what to do when you leave the hospital and the team's contact details in case of an emergency.

When you go home

Usually, you can go home a few hours after your procedure. Here is some guidance for your recovery.

Tips for what to do after you go home


  • take at least 2 to 3 days off work after the procedure
  • wear your dressing for 48 hours
  • eat and drink as usual when you get home


  • do not have a shower for 24 hours
  • do not have a bath or go swimming for 48 hours (to keep the area where we put in the needle clean)
  • do not take part in activities that involve too much effort or energy for 48 hours after the procedure

If you have any concerning symptoms

Contact your doctor or the interventional radiology (IR) department if you have:

  • a lot of bleeding from the area where we put in the needle (the puncture site)
  • increasing pain that does not go away after you take simple painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • difficulty swallowing or shortness of breath
  • increasing swelling or a mass (lump or swelling) forming at the puncture site
  • signs of infection at the puncture site (the area might become tender and warm to the touch, and you might have a high temperature)

We send your GP a letter about your procedure. If you need to go to your GP surgery or nearest emergency department (A&E), please take your aftercare information with you.

Follow-up appointment

We talk to you about your follow-up clinic appointment. You need to return to the hospital in 4 weeks for another ultrasound scan. We check that you are recovering well.

The thyroid nodule gradually reduces in size during the first month. We expect that the treated nodule will reduce in size by about half. This reduction can continue until 6 months after the procedure.

Useful information

You can find more information about percutaneous ablation for thyroid nodules by visiting the websites of the:

Resource number: 5242/VER2
Last reviewed: August 2023
Next review due: August 2026

A list of sources is available on request.

Trusted Information Creator. Patient Information Forum

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