Radiofrequency Ablation and Thyroid Nodules: Updated Systematic Review

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Purpose: In the thyroid gland, radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is being applied to both benign nodules and cancers internationally, while interest is also growing in the West. Benign thyroid nodules (BTNs) may be candidates for intervention when symptoms develop. For differentiated thyroid cancers (DTC), surgery is currently the first-line treatment. However, for candidates with high surgical risk or those who refuse to undergo repeated surgery, newer techniques such as RFA are an option. Surgery is associated with complications including hypothyroidism, voice change, hypocalcemia, and a scar. RFA has been used in Asian and European institutions as an alternative to surgery, but is relatively new in North America. Although RFA is not associated with significant complications, few randomized control trials have assessed its efficacy. The studies to date suggest a low rate of severe complications and a small need for thyroid hormone replacement following RFA. Further large-scale studies focusing on a Western population are needed. The aim of this review is to evaluate the evidence with respect to the current studies and data about the safety and efficacy of radiofrequency ablation for the management of BTNs and DTC.

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Publication Date

Summer 6-2021