Introduction: The multiple treatment options available to patients with thyroid nodules can generate uncertainty and confusion. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) and ethanol ablation (EA) are two alternative modalities to manage thyroid nodules. As patients more frequently utilize online resources to guide their decision-making, the quality of such resources must be evaluated. The goal of this study was to assess the quality of online patient materials relating to RFA and EA compared to standard thyroidectomy. Methods: The terms “thyroidectomy,” “thyroid radiofrequency ablation,” and “thyroid ethanol ablation” were searched on Google. Flesch Reading Ease (FRE), Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level (FKGL), Simple Measure of Gobbledygook (SMOG), and Patient Education Materials Assessment Tool (PEMAT) understandability and actionability were calculated for each website. Statistical analysis was conducted on SPSS Statistics. Google trends were used to determine search interest for each term (May 2016 – May 2021). Results: Of the 77 websites that met our inclusion criteria (30 thyroidectomy sites, 30 RFA sites, and 17 EA sites), the average FRE, FKGL, and SMOG scores of the RFA websites were significantly worse than those of the thyroidectomy websites (p < 0.05). The FKGL and SMOG scores of the EA websites were significantly worse than those of the thyroidectomy websites (p < 0.05). The average understandability and actionability scores for thyroidectomy websites were significantly higher than those of RFA and EA websites (p < 0.05). Conclusion: Ablation websites have lower search interest, readability, validity, understandability, and actionability scores in comparison to traditional thyroidectomy websites. Our findings emphasize the need to consider readability and PEMAT scores when developing online educational resources for ablative alternatives to thyroidectomy to allow for greater patient accessibility.

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