Update of Radiofrequency Ablation for Treating Benign and Malignant Thyroid Nodules. The Future Is Now

Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2021 Jun 24;12:698689. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2021.698689. eCollection 2021.


Thermal and chemical ablation are minimally invasive procedures that avoid removal of the thyroid gland and target symptomatic nodules directly. Internationally, Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is among one of the most widely used thermal ablative techniques, and is gaining traction in North America. Surgery remains the standard of care for most thyroid cancer, and in the right clinical setting, Active Surveillance (AS) can be a reasonable option for low risk disease. Minimally invasive techniques have emerged as an alternative option for patients deemed high risk for surgery, or for those patients who wish to receive a more active treatment approach compared to AS. Herein, we review the literature on the safety and efficacy of RFA for treating benign non-functioning thyroid nodules, autonomously functioning thyroid nodules, primary small low risk thyroid cancer (namely papillary thyroid cancer) as well as recurrent thyroid cancer.

Keywords: autonomously functioning thyroid nodules; benign thyroid nodules; primary thyroid cancer; radiofrequency ablation; recurrent thyroid cancer; thermal ablation.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Catheter Ablation / methods
  • Catheter Ablation / trends
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / epidemiology
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / etiology
  • Radiofrequency Ablation / methods
  • Radiofrequency Ablation / trends*
  • Thyroid Cancer, Papillary / epidemiology
  • Thyroid Cancer, Papillary / pathology
  • Thyroid Cancer, Papillary / therapy
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / pathology
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Thyroid Nodule / epidemiology
  • Thyroid Nodule / pathology
  • Thyroid Nodule / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome