- Last Updated: August 10, 2018
Focused Ultrasound Therapy
Focused ultrasound is an early-stage, noninvasive, therapeutic technology with the potential to improve the quality of life and decrease the cost of care for patients with thyroid nodules. This novel technology focuses beams of ultrasound energy precisely and accurately on targets deep in the body without damaging surrounding normal tissue. Where the beams converge, the ultrasound produces precise ablation (thermal destructionoftissue) enabling thyroid nodules to be treated without surgery.
The primary options for treatment of thyroid nodules include medication and invasive surgery.
For certain patients, focused ultrasound could provide a noninvasive alternative to surgery with less risk of complications and lower cost.
- Focused ultrasound is noninvasive, so it does not carry added concerns like surgical wound healing or infection.
- Focused ultrasound can reach the desired target without damaging surrounding tissue.
- It can be repeated, if necessary.
There is a clinical trial in Hong Kong that is assessing the use of repeated focused ultrasound treatment for nodules that do not shrink with the first treatment.
Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement
The Echopulse system manufactured by Theraclion is approved in Europe, Russia and Korea for treating thyroid nodules. Some European insurance companies are paying for focused ultrasound treatment of thyroid nodules.
Lang BHH, Woo YC, Chiu KW. Two-year efficacy of single-session high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) ablation of benign thyroid nodules.
Eur Radiol. 2018 Jun 19. doi: 10.1007/s00330-018-5579-8.
Giovanella L, Piccardo A, Pezzoli C, Bini F, Ricci R, Ruberto T, Trimboli P. Comparison of high intensity focused ultrasound and radioiodine for treating toxic thyroid nodules. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2018 May 9. doi: 10.1111/cen.13738.
Lang BHH, Woo YC, Chiu KW. Sequential high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) ablation in the treatment of benign multinodular goitre: an observational retrospective study. Eur Radiol. 2018 Aug;28(8):3237-3244. doi: 10.1007/s00330-018-5333-2. Epub 2018 Mar 19.
Trimboli P, Bini F, Marinozzi F, Baek JH, Giovanella L. High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) therapy for benign thyroid nodules without anesthesia or sedation. Endocrine. 2018 Feb 16. doi: 10.1007/s12020-018-1560-1.
Lang BHH, Woo YC, Chiu KW. Evaluation of pain during high-intensity focused ultrasound ablation of benign thyroid nodules. Eur Radiol. 2018 Jun;28(6):2620-2627. doi: 10.1007/s00330-017-5200-6. Epub 2018 Jan 12.
Lang BHH, Woo YC, Chiu KW. Significance of hyperechoic marks observed during high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) ablation of benign thyroid nodules. Eur Radiol. 2018 Jun;28(6):2675-2681. doi: 10.1007/s00330-017-5207-z. Epub 2018 Jan 8.
Lang BH, Wu ALH. The efficacy and safety of high-intensity focused ultrasound ablation of benign thyroid nodules. Ultrasonography. 2018 Apr;37(2):89-97. doi: 10.14366/usg.17057. Epub 2017 Oct 10. Review.
Korkusuz Y, Gröner D, Raczynski N, Relin O, Kingeter Y, Grünwald F, Happel C. Thermal ablation of thyroid nodules: are radiofrequency ablation, microwave ablation and high intensity focused ultrasound equally safe and effective methods? Eur Radiol. 2018 Mar;28(3):929-935. doi: 10.1007/s00330-017-5039-x. Epub 2017 Sep 11.
Click here for additional references from PubMed.