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Gland Surgery


Percutaneous ethanol injection (PEI) is a widely used treatment option for cystic and predominantly cystic thyroid nodules. It has several advantages over other treatment modalities. Compared to surgery, PEI is less painful, can be performed in the outpatient setting, and carries less risk of transient or permanent side effects. Compared to other minimally invasive techniques such as radiofrequency ablation (RFA), PEI is less expensive and does not require specialized equipment. PEI performs well in the context of cystic nodules. PEI does not perform as well as other techniques in solid nodules, so its use as a primary treatment is limited to cystic and predominantly cystic thyroid nodules. However, PEI is also being explored as an adjunct treatment to improve ablation of solid nodules with other techniques. Here, we provide a clinical review discussing the genesis, mechanism of action, and patient selection with respect to ethanol ablation, as well as the procedure itself. Predictors of operative success, failure, and common adverse events are also summarized. Altogether, PEI allows impressive volume reduction rates with minimal complications. Several recent studies have also evaluated the long-term impact of PEI up to 10 years after treatment and revealed maintenance of robust treatment efficacy with no undesirable long-term sequelae. Thus, PEI remains the treatment of choice for benign but symptomatic cystic and predominantly cystic thyroid nodules.

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