Radiofrequency Ablation of Benign Thyroid Nodules: Initial Review with Clinical Experience in Singapore
Karan Daga, Kanika Daga, Stephen Teck Soong Lee and Manish Taneja
Applied Medical Research. 2021;
Introduction: Up to half of the population may have benign thyroid nodules, and currently surgery is still the
mainstay for treatment. However, minimally invasive approaches such as radiofrequency ablation (RFA) have
been emerging in clinical practice in recent years. The purpose of this study is to investigate the safety and
efficacy of RFA in treating benign thyroid nodules in our local population in Singapore.
Methods: This retrospective study included a cohort of 22 patients (17 female, 5 male), who underwent
RFA for benign thyroid nodules at our institute in Singapore, between March 2016 and May 2018. Initial
assessment was carried out by ultrasound scanning, to measure pre-RFA nodule diameters, and fineneedle
aspiration cytology, to confirm the nodules are histologically benign. Final nodule diameters and
post-procedural complications were recorded at 12-months follow-up for all patients. The primary outcome
was to investigate a reduction in nodule size, post RFA. The secondary outcome was to investigate any
complications/adverse effects up to 12 months post-RFA.
Results: The median nodule diameter reduced from 2.75cm (range: 1.8-7.9cm) pre-RFA, to 1.50cm (range:
0.00 - 1.68cm; p=0.002) post-RFA. No major complications were encountered, however there was one
instance of minor post-operative bleeding. There was no regrowth of ablated nodules, no permanent voice
changes and no patients were hospitalised post-RFA.
Conclusions: RFA is shown to have substantial efficacy and is associated with fewer post-operative
complications than conventional surgical approaches. RFA a promising alternative to surgery, although more
research is needed.