Endocrinol Metab.  2019 Dec;34(4):415-421. 10.3803/EnM.2019.34.4.415.

Revisiting Rupture of Benign Thyroid Nodules after Radiofrequency Ablation: Various Types and Imaging Features

  • 1Department of Radiology and the Research Institute of Radiology, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. radbaek@naver.com
  • 2Department of Radiology and Thyroid Center, Daerim St. Mary's Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Radiology, Inje University Haeundae Paik Hospital, Inje University College of Medicine, Busan, Korea.
  • 4Department of Radiology, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.


To evaluate the imaging features, clinical manifestations, and prognosis of patients with thyroid nodule rupture after radiofrequency ablation (RFA).
The records of 12 patients who experienced thyroid nodule rupture after RFA at four Korean thyroid centers between March 2010 and July 2017 were retrospectively reviewed. Clinical data evaluated included baseline patient characteristics, treatment methods, initial presenting symptoms, imaging features, treatment, and prognosis.
The most common symptoms of post-RFA nodule rupture were sudden neck bulging and pain. Based on imaging features, the localization of nodule rupture was classified into three types: anterior, posterolateral, and medial types. The anterior type is the most often, followed by posterolateral and medial type. Eight patients recovered completely after conservative treatment. Four patients who did not improve with conservative management required invasive procedures, including incision and drainage or aspiration.
Thyroid nodule rupture after RFA can be classified into three types based on its localization: anterior, posterolateral, and medial types. Because majority of thyroid nodule ruptures after RFA can be managed conservatively, familiarity with these imaging features is essential in avoiding unnecessary imaging workup or invasive procedures.


Thyroid nodule; Ultrasonography; Radiofrequency ablation; Complication; Safety
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