Patient Profile: Focused Ultrasound for Benign Thyroid Nodules


Key Points

  • Venus Leung, a 52-year-old Hong Kong woman with benign thyroid nodules, was successfully treated with focused ultrasound by Professor Brian Lang.
  • She recalled, “I couldn’t believe that I had undergone a treatment with better results than surgical removal, and I didn’t feel any discomfort.”
  • This profile is written in English and Chinese.
After focused ultrasound treatment, Venus’s thyroid nodule has been treated and she does not have any scars on her neck that are associated with traditional surgery.

Ms. Venus Leung discovered a lump near her thyroid, and although it was benign, she chose focused ultrasound treatment at Queen Mary Hospital in Hong Kong. Professor Brian Lang performed the procedure.

Thyroid nodules are solid or fluid-filled lumps that form within the thyroid gland, and most of them are benign. They are not generally harmful, but they can impede breathing and swallowing if allowed to grow.

We spoke with Ms. Leung about her experience and how she is doing today, more than two years after treatment.

Tell me a little about yourself. 請簡單介紹一下你自己。
My name is Ms. Venus Leung. I am 52 years old and currently employed.


When did your symptoms start? 你的症狀是什麼時候開始的?
About four years ago, I unintentionally felt a lump next to my throat on the right side of my neck.


Tell me about your diagnosis. 請形容您的診斷。
After finding out about the lump, I thought there might be a problem with my thyroid gland, but I wasn’t sure whether it was benign or malignant.


What treatment options did your doctor offer? 您的醫生提供了哪些治療方案?
I immediately visited and told my family doctor, who referred me to the specialist outpatient department of Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital for further examination, including fine needle aspiration biopsy and ultrasound examination. Turns out the thyroid nodule was benign, and the doctor said that since it was still small, I only had to do regular checkups to see if there were any changes and further treatments needed.


When did you first hear about focused ultrasound? 您是什麼時候第一次聽說到聚焦超聲的?
About a year later, during a follow-up consultation, the doctor said that if my nodule is too large, surgical removal would be a clean and complete option, but it would leave a scar and compromised thyroid function, and even possibly affect the vocal cords. The doctor said that if I didn’t want a surgery, Queen Mary Hospital had a technology called focused ultrasound ablation that could eliminate nodules without the need for surgery. For the time being, this technology only existed at Queen Mary Hospital [in Hong Kong].


Why did you decide to take part in a clinical trial?你為什麼決定參加臨床試驗?
Beauty is always a priority for ladies. After hearing about not needing a surgery, no scars left, and being able to preserve the thyroid function, I didn’t have to think twice and asked my doctor for a referral to try it out.


Describe how you felt waking up the morning of treatment. 請描述您在接受治療後那個早上醒來時的感受。
After the treatment, I felt very relaxed, and life was wonderful.


What was the treatment itself like? 治療本身是怎麽樣的?您有什麽感覺?
Before the treatment, Professor Lang told me not to worry; it would take about 40 minutes and there was no need for general anesthesia. The equipment would be placed at the location of the nodule on the neck to eliminate it with high temperature, and there might be a bit of swelling and discomfort after the treatment. I felt very comfortable with the procedure and was not afraid.


How did you feel going home from treatment? 治療結束後回家那時的感覺如何?
The feeling of going home from the treatment was that I couldn’t believe that I had undergone a treatment with better results than surgical removal, and I didn’t have any problems or feel any discomfort.


Describe your life now. 請描述您現在的生活。
Now my life is the same as before having the nodule; everything is normal, and my voice is not affected. Professor [Lang] says I’m doing well every time during checkup, and the shrinkage of the nodule is favorable; this is really what I had hoped for.


Tell me what you would like to say to your clinical team. 您想對您的臨床團隊說些什麼嗎?
Here, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to Professor Lang and the team of doctors and nurses from Queen Mary Hospital for their contribution to mankind! They make our lives more wonderful and beautiful! I wish the team more success in the future! Thank you very much!