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Radiofrequency ablation for benign thyroid nodules

Radiofrequency ablation for benign thyroid nodules

Radiofrequency ablation for benign thyroid nodules


Bernardi S, Stacul F, Zecchin M, Dobrinja C, Zanconati F, Fabris B. Radiofrequency ablation for benign thyroid nodules. J Endocrinol Invest. 2016 Sep;39(9):1003-13. doi: 10.1007/s40618-016-0469-x. Epub 2016 Apr 20. PMID: 27098804.



Benign thyroid nodules are an extremely common occurrence. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is gaining ground as an effective technique for their treatment, in case they become symptomatic. Here we review what are the current indications to RFA, its outcomes in terms of efficacy, tolerability, and cost, and also how it compares to the other conventional and experimental treatment modalities for benign thyroid nodules. Moreover, we will also address the issue of treating with this technique patients with cardiac pacemakers (PM) or implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICD), as it is a rather frequent occurrence that has never been addressed in detail in the literature.


Based on the existing literature, the greatest shift in the future routine management of benign thyroid nodules will probably be determined by the availability of nonsurgical, minimally invasive techniques, such as RFA. This technique has shown the potential to help in the daily management of thyroid nodules, particularly when they are single, cold, and symptomatic, where it has been proven safe and effective. In our view, RFA does not overlap with the conventional and established treatments for thyroid nodules, namely surgery and radioiodine, but it is complementary to them. RFA could in fact represent the solution for a need that has remained unanswered for years, helping those patients that perceive their nodule as s something too small to be conventionally treated (or which cannot be conventionally treated), but too big to keep with the simple clinical follow-up.

Key Words

Implantable cardioverter-defbrillator; Minimally invasive nonsurgical techniques; Pacemaker; Radiofrequency ablation; Thyroid nodule; Ultrasound-guided procedure.

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