The efficacy and safety of microwave ablation versus lobectomy for the treatment of benign thyroid nodules greater than 4 cm



To evaluate the safety and effectiveness of microwave ablation (MWA) versus lobectomy for the treatment of benign thyroid nodules > 4 cm.


We retrospectively analyzed the data of 48 patients who underwent MWA and 53 patients who underwent lobectomy to treat benign thyroid nodules > 4 cm. The patients were followed up for 12 months. The volume reduction ratio (VRR) was calculated. The operation time, incision length, hospitalization time, complications, thyroid function, symptoms, and cosmetic improvement were analyzed and compared between the two groups.


During the 12-month follow-up, the mean nodule volume in the MWA group was reduced from 36.1 ± 23.1 to 4.0 ± 4.1 ml, and the mean VRR of the nodules was 90 ± 5% in the MWA group, which was comparable with that in the surgery group. No significant postoperative change in thyroid function was observed in the MWA group. Compared with the surgery group, the incidence of complications and postoperative pain in the MWA group were lower, the operation time, incision length, and hospitalization time in the MWA group were shorter, and satisfaction with the esthetic results in the MWA group was greater.


MWA is safe and effective for the treatment of benign thyroid nodules > 4 cm. Moreover, MWA is associated with a faster recovery, fewer complications, better protection of thyroid function, and superior esthetic results relative to thyroid lobectomy.

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This study was funded by the Finance Department of Jilin Province (No. SCZSY201701) and the Jilin Province Science and Technology Department (No. 20190303140SF).

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Correspondence to Hui Wang or Deng-Ke Teng.

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Dong, P., Wu, XL., Sui, GQ. et al. The efficacy and safety of microwave ablation versus lobectomy for the treatment of benign thyroid nodules greater than 4 cm. Endocrine 71, 113–121 (2021).

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  • Thermal ablation
  • Microwave
  • Ultrasound
  • Thyroid
  • Benign nodules
  • Lobectomy