Cooled microwave ablation of thyroid nodules: Initial experience

Eur J Radiol. 2016 Nov;85(11):2127-2132. doi: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2016.09.019. Epub 2016 Sep 28.


Objective: To evaluate if internally cooled microwave ablation (cMWA) is a safe and effective method for treatment of benign and malign thyroid nodules.

Methods: 9 patients with 11 symptomatic cold benign thyroid nodules and 1 recurrent thyroid carcinoma ranging in volume from 9.1 to 197ml (mean size 52± 57ml) were treated with cMWA. The mean age of the patients was 59 years. Pain during the treatment was measured on a 10-point scale. Side effects revealed by ultrasound or patients' complaints were documented. Periablative efficacy was measured 24h after cMWA as change (Δ) in serum thyreoglobulin (Tg). Nodule elasticity was measured on a 4-point scale, blood circulation and echogenicity on a 3-point scale.

Results: All patients tolerated cMWA well. Median pain intensity averaged 2.1±0.8 (range: 1-3). Postablative hematoma was observed in all cases. In no cases ablation led to hoarseness, superficial burns, nodule ruptures, vagal reactions or dysphagia. cMWA lead to a significant decrease of blood circulation, nodule echogenicity and a significant increase of elasticity (Δ = 1.1 ± 0.33; 0.8 ± 0.4 and 1.1 ± 0.6 points)(p<0.05). An average increase of 4495ng/ml Tg was measured (p<0.05).

Conclusions: cMWA is an effective and secure method for treatment of thyroid nodules.

Keywords: Microwave ablation; Pain scale; Thyroid nodules; Ultrasound-guidance; Volume reduction.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Catheter Ablation* / methods
  • Deglutition Disorders / epidemiology
  • Deglutition Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microwaves / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control*
  • Recovery of Function
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Factors
  • Thyroid Nodule / diagnostic imaging
  • Thyroid Nodule / pathology
  • Thyroid Nodule / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography