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ATA: High-Intensity Ultrasound Maps, Zaps Thyroid Nodules

Non-invasive procedure safely destroys nodules in goiter patients

FRIDAY, Oct. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers for the first time safely used non-invasive high-intensity focused ultrasound to seek and destroy thyroid nodules in patients indicated for thyroid surgery, according to preliminary research presented this week at the 77th annual meeting of the American Thyroid Association in Phoenix.

Olivier Esnault, M.D., of Saint-Louis Hospital in Paris, France, and colleagues treated 25 multi-nodular goiter patients with high-intensity focused ultrasound two weeks before surgery, targeting one nodule per patient with 8 millimeter diameter minimum. Ultrasound and thyroglobulin testing occurred before and after the procedure.

The researchers found 75 percent of the targeted area in the last treated nodules necrotic, reaching a maximum 1.2 centimeter diameter. Results in trabecular patterns were less evident. Ultrasound later detected no difference in nodules' size at D15, D8 or D3; thyroglobulin levels at D1 rose for six patients.

After minor skin blisters surfaced in seven patients, the researchers altered the instrument's shape. They also halted treatment in three patients who became uncomfortable; the rest tolerated it readily.

"This study confirmed the feasibility and safety of the high-intensity focused ultrasound procedure," the authors write. "The histological lesions were clearly visible in most of the fully treated patients, particularly those who received higher-energy."

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