Purpose: The aim of the present study was to retrospectively evaluate the efficacy of interstitial laser photocoagulation (ILP) ablation of thyroid nodules during a 6-year follow-up period and to identify possible predictors of the final outcome. Methods: Forty-three outpatients (38 women) were assigned to ILP therapy. The study group included euthyroid patients with benign thyroid nodules. Thyroid size, nodule volume and features, and autoimmune test were collected at baseline. Patients underwent US control after the ILP procedure and 1 month, 6 months, 12 months later and then annually. Results: During the follow-up, two distinct groups of patients emerged: the responders (N = 33) and the non-responder (N = 10) ones to ILP. In the responder group, the nodule volume significantly decreased during the follow-up, but a trend toward a slight increase in nodule volume was recorded up to the end of follow-up. No significant decrease in nodule volume was observed in the non-responder group. Neither baseline clinical nor demographic features were significantly different between responders and non-responders groups. In the whole group of patients, the energy delivered per mL of nodule tissue was significantly correlated with the percent volume decrease at the end of follow-up. Conclusions: Interstitial laser photocoagulation is a safe technique able to reduce byabout 50% the volume of benign thyroid nodules in the majority of treated patients. However, due to the great variability of results, an active follow-up is required. The only independent predictor of ILP outcome is the energy delivered per mL of nodule tissue.
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