Recent medical technology developments are revolutionising how healthcare providers approach the challenge of diagnosing and treating thyroid nodules and their associated conditions.
From the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in diagnosing thyroid cancer to the advent of laser ablation for benign nodules, patients now have access to more efficient and less invasive procedures. This World Thyroid Day, which is marked globally on May 25, experts say that these advancements improve accuracy and spare individuals unnecessary surgeries and lifelong medication dependence.
Thyroid cancer is a growing concern, particularly in the UAE, where it ranks as the top endocrine malignancy and the second most common cancer in women. However, diagnosing thyroid disease, especially cancer, can be challenging due to the limitations of traditional methods. The reliance on ultrasound and fine-needle aspiration biopsies (FNAB) for detection and interpretation often results in indeterminate diagnoses and unnecessary surgeries.
To overcome these limitations, AI is now playing a vital role in thyroid cancer diagnosis. AI algorithms can analyse thyroid images, detect abnormalities, and interpret the likelihood of malignancy more accurately. At GluCare.Health specialists have successfully integrated AI into their diagnostic protocols. Dr. Milena Caccelli, Specialist Endocrinologist at GluCare.Health, highlights the impact: “Our approach has helped us reduce the number of unnecessary invasive procedures and provide patients with a more convenient and prompt experience.”
Dr. Milena Caccelli, Specialist Endocrinologist at GluCare
By using AI tools, healthcare providers can significantly reduce the need for FNABs, ensuring that patients only undergo invasive procedures when necessary. This approach improves diagnostic accuracy, prognosis, and medical interpretation while minimising discomfort and the risk of complications. AI-generated diagnostics have become a valuable preventative health tool, empowering physicians to detect and monitor thyroid nodules more effectively.
The traditional treatment approach for benign thyroid nodules involves surgical removal of the thyroid gland or a lifelong dependency on medications. However, a breakthrough technique called laser ablation is changing the landscape of thyroid nodule treatment. Doctors at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) successfully performed laser ablation on a 48-year-old woman with multiple nodules last year.
In an announcement, Dr. Shaik Irfan Basha, Consultant Otorhinolaryngology and Head & Neck Surgery at SKMC, said: “This technique is performed while the patient is conscious, under local anaesthesia. A thin needle, less than one millimetre in diameter, is inserted into the target thyroid nodule under ultrasound guidance. Laser treatments are performed through the needle, and the amount of energy delivered is planned based on the size of the nodule."
He added that the procedure is minimally invasive, and patients typically recover within two hours, allowing for same-day discharge and quick resumption of daily activities.
Laser ablation offers numerous benefits, including avoiding surgery, eliminating medication dependency, and preserving the thyroid gland's function. This relatively new procedure is effective, reproducible, well-tolerated, and associated with a low risk of complications. It provides a viable alternative for patients who prefer to avoid surgery or have concerns about lifelong medication usage.
The thyroid nodule diagnosis and treatment landscape are rapidly evolving with advancements in AI-driven diagnostics and laser ablation techniques. Integrating AI into standard diagnostic protocols improves accuracy and reduces the need for invasive procedures, sparing patients unnecessary discomfort and surgeries.Back to Management