Radiofrequency ablation has been advocated as an alternative to radioiodine and/or surgery for the treatment of autonomously functioning benign thyroid nodules. However, only a few studies have measured radiofrequency ablation efficacy on autonomously functioning benign thyroid nodules. The aim of this work was to evaluate the 12-month efficacy of a single session of radiofrequency ablation (performed with the moving shot technique) on solitary autonomously functioning benign thyroid nodules.
Thirty patients with a single, benign autonomously functioning benign thyroid nodules, who were either unwilling or ineligible to undergo surgery and radioiodine, were treated with radiofrequency ablation between April 2012 and May 2015. All the patients underwent a single radiofrequency ablation, performed with the 18-gauge needle and the moving shot technique. Clinical, laboratory, and ultrasound evaluations were scheduled at baseline, and after 1, 3, 6, and 12 months from the procedure.
A single radiofrequency ablation reduced thyroid nodule volume by 51, 63, 69, and 75 % after 1, 3, 6, and 12 months, respectively. This was associated with a significant improvement of local cervical discomfort and cosmetic score. As for thyroid function, 33 % of the patients went into remission after 3 months, 43 % after 6 months, and 50 % after 12 months from the procedure. This study demonstrates that a single radiofrequency ablation allowed us to withdraw anti-thyroid medication in 50 % of the patients, who remained euthyroid afterwards.
This study shows that a single radiofrequency ablation was effective in 50 % of patients with autonomously functioning benign thyroid nodules. Patients responded gradually to the treatment. It is possible that longer follow-up studies might show greater response rates.
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This research did not receive any specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sector.
Disclosure of potential conflict of interest
Stella Bernardi declares that she has no conflict of interest. Fulvio Stacul declares that he has no conflict of interest. Andrea Michelli declares that he has no conflict of interest. Fabiola Giudici declares that she has no conflict of interest. Giulia Zuolo declares that she has no conflict of interest. Nicolò de Manzini declares that he has no conflict of interest. Chiara Dobrinja declares that she has no conflict of interest. Fabrizio Zanconati declares that he has no conflict of interest. Bruno Fabris declares that he has no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee (Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Trieste–Ospedali Riuniti di Trieste, Trieste Italy) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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Bernardi, S., Stacul, F., Michelli, A. et al. 12-month efficacy of a single radiofrequency ablation on autonomously functioning thyroid nodules. Endocrine 57, 402–408 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12020-016-1174-4
- Thyroid nodules
- Ultrasound-guided procedures
- Radiofrequency ablation