Focus of the Report: This report focuses on the use of radiofrequency ablation (RFA) for treatment of symptomatic benign thyroid nodules (BTNs) in adult patients.

Technology Description: RFA is an ultrasound (US)-guided, minimally invasive treatment approach, which applies high frequency alternating electric current to the thyroid nodule via an electrode inserted into the area with the largest diameter. The energy delivered produces temperatures that cause necrosis of the nodule tissues and reduces the nodule’s volume. RFA of the thyroid for treatment of BTNs is generally performed as an outpatient procedure with US guidance under local anesthetic.

Controversy: Despite a growing body of evidence for RFA of BTNs, currently there is limited information available regarding longer-term follow-up—especially for the outcome of nodule recurrence (i.e., regrowth)—for RFA compared with other ablative therapies or surgery. It is also imperative that malignancy be ruled out prior to RFA since the ablated tissue does not undergo histopathological examination.

Key Questions:

  • Is RFA effective in reducing the volume of and improving compressive symptoms and cosmetic concerns associated with BTNs?

  • How does RFA compare with other methods for ablation or surgery for BTN reduction or removal?

  • Is RFA safe for the treatment of BTNs?

  • Have definitive patient selection criteria been identified for RFA of BTNs?

If you have a Hayes login, click here to view the full report on the Knowledge Center.