PURPOSE: To evaluate clinical aspects and imaging features of complications encountered in the treatment of benign thyroid nodules with radiofrequency (RF) ablation.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Institutional review board approval was obtained for this retrospective study, and informed consent was waived. From June 2002 to September 2009, 1459 patients underwent RF ablation of 1543 thyroid nodules with an RF system with internally cooled electrodes at 13 thyroid centers, which were members of Korean Society of Thyroid Radiology. Numbers and types of major and minor complications were assessed.
RESULTS: The authors observed 48 complications (3.3%), 20 major and 28 minor. The major complications were voice changes (n = 15), brachial plexus injury (n = 1), tumor rupture (n = 3), and permanent hypothyroidism (n = 1). The minor complications were hematoma (n = 15), skin burn (n = 4), and vomiting (n = 9). All patients recovered spontaneously except for one with permanent hypothyroidism and one who underwent surgery.
CONCLUSION: Although the complication rate of RF ablation is low, various complications may occur; comprehension of complications and suggested technical tips may prevent complications or properly manage those that occur.