Background: Minimally thermal treatments, including radiofrequency ablation (RFA), have been widely used for benign thyroid nodules (BTNs). However, factors related to the efficacy are not consistent among studies. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate factors associated with the efficacy and the risk of having multiple RFA sessions in the treatment of BTNs.
Materials and methods: We performed a retrospective study of 83 patients with 96 BTNs undergoing RFA from 2018 to 2019. Clinical and ultrasound evaluations were performed before and after RFA 1, 4, 10, and every 6 months afterward. Efficacy outcomes were volume reduction ratio (VRR), symptom and cosmetic scores, and the requirement of multiple RFA sessions.
Results: Female was predominant (86%) and the median age was 45 years. Most nodules were solid (64%) with a median volume of 3 mL. Two (2%) minor complications occurred and median time of follow-up was 17 months. The VRR reached to 56.7, 77, 89.4, and 92.8% at 4, 10, 16, and 22 months after the RFA, respectively. The symptom and cosmetic scores also significantly reduced. Multiple RFA sessions were required in 14 nodules (15%). Male had lower VRR of 5.59% than female, while mixed and cystic nodules had higher VRR of 4.88 and 12.7% compared with solid nodule. Larger nodule increased the risk of multiple RFA sessions.
Conclusion: Radiofrequency ablation is a safe and effective treatment for BTNs. Gender and solidity associate with VRR, but the large nodule is the risk factor of multiple sessions. More studies are required to reduce the risk of multiple RFA sessions.
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