The efficacy and complications of radiofrequency ablation of thyroid nodules

Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2011 Oct;18(5):310-4. doi: 10.1097/MED.0b013e32834a9168.


Purpose of review: The use of radiofrequency ablation has increased rapidly in recent years and is receiving increased attention as a minimally invasive method to treat benign and malignant thyroid nodules.

Recent findings: Radiofrequency ablation has been shown to be an alternative to surgery in the treatment of benign thyroid nodules. Radiofrequency ablation of benign cold nodules showed volume reductions of 32.7-58.2% at 1 month and 50.7-84.8% at 6 months, while reducing symptoms and cosmetic problems. Radiofrequency ablation of autonomously functioning thyroid nodules effectively improves thyroid function and reduces nodule volume. Recently, radiofrequency ablation of recurrent thyroid cancers showed good short-term results for locoregional control of well differentiated thyroid carcinoma in patients at high risk for surgery. Various complications of radiofrequency ablation have been reported, including pain, voice change, hematoma, skin burn at the puncture site, thyrotoxicosis, hypothyroidism, edema, and fever, but most patients recovered spontaneously without sequelae.

Summary: Radiofrequency ablation is an effective and well tolerated treatment option for benign thyroid nodules. Radiofrequency ablation of recurrent thyroid cancers may be an alternative to surgery in patients at high surgical risk.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Catheter Ablation / methods*
  • Humans
  • Radiofrequency Therapy*
  • Thyroid Nodule / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome