Radiofrequency Ablation of Benign and Malignant Thyroid Nodules

Patrick J. Navin, Scott M. Thompson, Anil N. Kurup, Robert A. Lee, Matthew R. Callstrom, M. Regina Castro, Marius N. Stan, Brian T. Welch, John J. Schmitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Thyroid nodule treatment has significantly evolved over recent years with attempts to individualize treatment on the basis of the cause of the nodule and patient performance status. The risks and complications associated with surgery and radioactive iodine have promoted interest in additional therapies such as radiofrequency ablation (RFA). RFA creates an electrical current through a target tissue (thyroid nodule) with resultant tissue heating causing coagu-lative necrosis. National and international groups are beginning to recognize the role of RFA as a viable therapeutic option in the treatment of thyroid nodules. Based on numerous guidelines, RFA is indicated in the treatment of symptomatic benign nodules and autonomously functioning nodules when surgery is refused or when the patient would not tolerate surgery. The treatment of thyroid malignancy with RFA is controversial, with some groups advocating for its use in the treatment of small papillary thyroid cancers in spe-cific scenarios. The most important aspect of RFA is the preproce-dural workup and adequate patient selection. Procedural technique varies among centers. However, RFA is typically performed as a single-day-admission outpatient procedure. Methods such as hy-drodissection and a moving shot technique are employed to ensure adequate coverage of the nodule without overtreating the peripher-ies and damaging sensitive structures. As a result, the procedure is well tolerated, and major complications such as recurrent laryngeal nerve injury and nodule rupture are very rare. In the proper patient cohort, thyroid RFA offers an efficacious and safe option in the management of thyroid nodules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1812-1828
Number of pages17
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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