Radiofrequency Ablation As A Novel Modality In The Usa For Treating Toxic Thyroid Nodules: Case Series And Literature Review

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Gland Surgery


Background: Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is widely accepted as a treatment for non-functioning benign thyroid nodules, mainly to reduce compressive symptoms. In addition to potential compressive symptoms, autonomously functioning thyroid nodules (AFTNs) can cause palpitations, weight loss, diarrhea, increased appetite, flushing, irritability, tiredness, poor sleep, and long-term cardiovascular and musculoskeletal consequences. Currently, there are no United States based RFA practice guidelines for the treatment of AFTNs. However, several reports from Asia and Europe have described the resolution of hyperthyroidism secondary to AFTNs with RFA. Case Description: Three patients with toxic thyroid nodules presented with symptomatic hyperthyroidism, suppressed thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), and increased uptake on nuclear medicine thyroid scan. These patients were treated with RFA. At 3 months following ablation, TSH normalized to 2.09, 1.91, and 1.34 mIU/mL respectively. However, temporary hypothyroidism was encountered at 1 month following ablation. All patients discontinued their antithyroid medications following ablation. Nodules exhibited significant volume reductions of 38%, 32%, and 54% from the baseline at 1-month follow-up. Conclusions: RFA potentiates as a safe and effective treatment of toxic thyroid nodules. Though it carries a risk of temporary hypothyroidism following ablation, long-term consequences appear to be minimal. Future study with larger sample size and longer follow-up are encouraged to identify factors predicting response.

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