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Doctor of the Month

Doctor of the Month: Introducing Dr. Jennifer Kuo

Currently, we are in an exciting period when it comes to thyroid treatment and the breakthroughs in the field. Treatment such as Thyroid Radiofrequency Ablation, also known as Thyroid RFA, is newer in the area and offers a minimally invasive option for saving the thyroid. It is increasingly becoming an alternative to treatments such as surgery and radioactive iodine ablation, and shows real promises for patients.

As we continue to learn more about our thyroid, and the different methods available for treatment, we’re profiling doctors working with the future of thyroid treatments. Our Doctor of the Month is Dr. Jennifer H. Kuofrom Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUMC) in New York City. She is a high-volume endocrine surgeon specialized in minimally invasive surgical techniques for thyroid, parathyroid, and adrenal disease.

Dr. Kuo completed her medical degree at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She subsequently completed her general surgery training at the University of California, Davis, a post-doctoral research fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco, and an Endocrine Surgery Fellowship at Columbia University. Since then, she has accumulated extensive experience across different aspects of diagnosis and treatment for thyroid diseases including hyperparathyroidism, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, Grave’s Disease, goiter, Medullary Thyroid Cancer (MTC), metastatic thyroid cancer, and many others.

Dr. Kuo has held numerous honors and has been repeatedly recognized by Super Doctors and New York Magazine’s Top Doctor Awards. She is nationally recognized for her expertise and is appointed the Surgical Director of the Thyroid Biopsy Program at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), Program Director of the Endocrine Surgery Program, and Director of the Endocrine Surgery Research Program.

Extensive thyroid experience

Dr. Kuo is one of the leading international experts in ultrasound-guided radiofrequency ablation of benign thyroid nodules and recurrent thyroid cancer. She is currently spearheading the new Interventional Endocrinology program at Columbia, offering patients both RFA as well as ethanol ablation. In her practice and research, she focuses on improving care for endocrine patients and is one of the pioneers for new technology in patient treatments, such as thyroid RFA.

As an Associate Professor of Surgery at CUMC, Dr. Kuo is a natural educator when it comes to sharing her knowledge with the greater crowd. She has been an invited speaker multiple times, both nationally and internationally, to discuss alternatives to thyroid surgery and the future of thyroidectomies as new interventions such as thyroid RFA, become an alternative for patients. She also features multiple YouTube videos to educate her patients about novel minimally invasive treatment options that are available. She is also training numerous other physicians on how to do the technique safely and effectively.

Dr. Kuo is one of the few specialists in the country that has performed more than 100 Thyroid RFA procedures. In a recent article around emerging surgical techniques, Dr. Kuo spoke about thyroid RFA and how the approach can “revolutionize” current ways of treatment1. She added that while it may not be the right treatment for everyone, it could benefit many thyroid patients.1 Dr. Kuohighlighted that the main benefits of thyroid RFA include that it is minimally invasive, and patients will not need to undergo anesthesia or surgery. In addition, there is almost no risk for thyroid hormone dependency. This is because the procedure only targets the nodule rather than causing an unwanted effect on the normal thyroid tissue surrounding it. Nodule volume can be reduced without needing surgery or a hormone supplementation in the future for many patients.1

Dr. Kuobelieves that interventional approaches like RFA, could lead to safer procedures for appropriate patients with benign nodules and offer a real alternative to surgery.1 Currently, Dr. Kuo is one of the leading pioneers in safe and effective treatment alternatives for thyroid conditions, particularly thyroid RFAs. As a nationally recognized clinical researcher that has focused on improving care and treatment for patients with thyroid diseases, she is currently the only funded researcher in the United States who is evaluating the safety and efficacy of these interventional techniques, in benign nodules, as well as small low-risk thyroid cancers and indeterminate nodules.

You can find more information about Dr. Kuo and her experience here.

Interventional Endocrinology: An Emerging Specialty | NYP. (n.d.). NewYork-Presbyterian. Retrieved June 12, 2021, from https://www.nyp.org/newsletters/prof-adv/endo/interventional-endocrinology-an-emerging-specialty

3 Responses

  1. I had a one ounce isotope cocktail when i was 32 which shrunk my thyroid. Now im 80 and told.i have 5 nodules on my thyroid how can that be if my thyroid glad was shrunk down .

  2. I had a needle body’s done at Preston out patient in may it went well there was no cancer my doctor wants to see me the end of august can you send me some imforation on how you approach it know one told me what I should feal after it was done !can you please send me some information thank toy🌷Roseann Fischetti

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The VIVA Combo RF Ablation System and star RF Electrode are intended for use in percutaneous and intraoperative coagulation and ablation of tissue.

There is a risk that error may result due to the radiofrequency current on patients who have pacemakers and other active implants. Do not use the radiofrequency lesion generator and electrode on these patients.
The following types of complications may result due to the use of the radiofrequency lesion generator and electrode.
– Tumor recurrence
– Burn due to the over-heating of the the surgical equipment
– Dangerous situation due to the unskilled equipment control
– Cross-infection or complications due to the re-use of the inappropriate electrode
– Ascites/diarrhea
– Bleeding of the coagulated part
– Ventricular fibrillation
– Weakness of liver functions
– Symptoms after RFA treatment includes (abdominal) pain, fever, nausea, headache, right shoulder joint pain and chest discomfort might occur

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