Large (≥3 cm) benign thyroid nodules usually cause clinical symptoms or cosmetic concerns and therefore require treatment. Microwave ablation (MWA) is a potential valid non-surgical treatment alternative, but there is a lack of evidence. Thus, this study is to evaluate the safety and efficacy of MWA in the treatment of large benign thyroid nodules.
A retrospective study was conducted on 42 large benign thyroid nodules in 40 patients treated with MWA. We used the trans-isthmic approach and moving-shot technique to perform the procedure under ultrasound (US) guidance. Patients were followed by clinical and US examinations at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months after the MWA. Study outcomes were complications, volume reduction ratio (VRR), symptom and cosmetic scores, and the requirement of multiple MWA sessions.
There were 31 females and 9 males, with a median age of 46 years. The medians of largest diameter and volume of the nodules were 40 mm and 22 ml. Four (10%) minor complications were observed. The mean VRR was 75.1, 85.2, and 96.4% after 3, 6, and 12 months. The mean symptom and cosmetic scores dropped from 8.0 and 3.8 (before treatment) to 2.8 and 2.3 (at 12 months), respectively. Thirteen nodules (31%) required two MWA sessions.
MWA is safe, effective, and can be a good option to treat large benign thyroid nodules. More studies with large dataset and long follow-up are required to improve its safety and efficacy.