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High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) for benign thyroid nodules: 2-year follow-up results

  • Pierpaolo TrimboliEmail author
  • Federico Pelloni
  • Fabiano Bini
  • Franco Marinozzi
  • Luca Giovanella
Original Article



High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is the last introduced thermal treatment of thyroid nodules. Here we evaluated the results at 24 months after HIFU.


Since 2016, HIFU was considered as a therapeutic option at our institute in patients with benign thyroid nodules presenting local symptoms. We searched in our database all patients who had undergone thyroid HIFU and selected for the study only cases followed-up for at least 24 months after the treatment. Volume reduction rate (VRR) was evaluated. A reduction above 50% defined the success of HIFU.


Thirty-one nodules of 31 patients (24 females and 7 males, median age 67 years) with median major diameter from 17 to 34 mm and estimated nodule volume of 5.48 mL were included. HIFU was performed with median power of 42 W/site (interquartile range 25–45) and median energy of 263 J/site (interquartile range 225–273). Median duration of the procedure was 6 min (interquartile range 5–7). At 2 years after HIFU, nodule volume was significantly (p < 0.0001) lower (i.e., 3.40 mL) with VRR of 43.3%, and 26 (83.9%) lesions were reduced. A reduction by at least 50% was observed at 6, 12, and 24 months in 2 (6.4%), 5 (16.1%), and 7 (22.5%) nodules, respectively. Visual analog score showed a significant improvement (p < 0.0001). No complications were recorded.


A reduction of benign thyroid nodule by more than 40% could be reached within 1 year by HIFU. Given the non-significant size increase of some lesions later, a larger study with a longer follow-up is necessary.


Thyroid Thermal ablation High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) 



The authors thank Riccardo Ricci CNMT and Cinzia Pezzoli CNMT who significantly contributed for all HIFU treatments.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Also, for this retrospective study, formal consent was not required.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Nuclear Medicine and Thyroid CentreImaging Institute of Southern SwitzerlandBellinzonaSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering“Sapienza” University of RomeRomeItaly

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