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Relevant studies were identified by searching MEDLINE on Pub Med, Embase, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials using “thyroid nodule” or “thyroid tumor” as common text words combined with “percutaneous ablation,” “radiofrequency ablation,” “radio-frequency ablation,” “laser ablation,” “interstitial photocoagulation,” and “laser photocoagulation.” This was supplemented by a manual search and review of the reference lists. Studies were eligible if the initial nodule volume, the proportion of a solid component after therapy, and complications were recorded. When relevant information regarding the study design or outcomes was unclear or if there was doubt regarding duplicate publications, we contacted the original authors for clarification. Based on the mean volume and SD value at baseline and follow-up, the percentage mean change [absolute mean change], SE, and its confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated for each study.

Based on the Bayesian network meta-analysis, RFA achieved a larger pooled percentage mean change (95% credible interval) and absolute mean change (95% credible interval) compared to LA [77.8% (67.7–88.0) vs 49.5% (26.7–72.4), and 9.2 m L (5.8–11.9) vs 5.3 m L (2.1–8.5), respectively].

Therefore, controversy still exists concerning whether one or the other of the two treatment modalities is superior in the therapy of benign solid thyroid nodules.

Systematic review, using meta-analysis, is a well-accepted basis for providing evidence-based treatment guidelines.

In our Bayesian analysis, we used noninformative (vague), prior distributions that allow data to drive the posterior distributions.