Radiofrequency ablation for the management of thyroid nodules: A critical appraisal of the literature.
The majority of benign thyroid nodules are asymptomatic, remain stable in size and do not require treatment. However, a minority of patients with growing nodules may have local symptoms or cosmetic concerns, and thus demand surgical therapy. The timely use of ultrasound-guided, minimally invasive thermal therapies has changed the natural history of benign, enlarging thyroid nodules (TNs). These procedures produce persistent shrinkage of TNs and an improvement of local symptoms. Among the various procedures, percutaneous ethanol injection represents the first-line treatment for thyroid cysts, while in solid cold nodules, laser and radiofrequency ablation (RFA) have proven to be very effective and safe techniques in producing significant volume reduction that remains stable over several years. In particular, RFA seems to be suited for the management of small and medium nodules, while larger nodules may require repeated RFA treatments, and could be difficult to treat if they extend into the chest. RFA is performed in outpatient clinics and has a lower risk of complications compared to surgery. However, to date, there is still no unanimous consensus on the percutaneous treatment of benign nodules using such minimally invasive thermal techniques. In this review, we critically revise the literature to identify patients who are more likely to benefit from RFA treatment as an alternative to surgery.
European Thyroid researcher Roberto Valcavi shown in this picture, and others are mapping out the future course of the use of RFA for nodules and cancer