Endocrinol Metab.  2020 Jun;35(2):407-415. 10.3803/EnM.2020.35.2.407.

Effectiveness of Injecting Cold 5% Dextrose into Patients with Nerve Damage Symptoms during Thyroid Radiofrequency Ablation

  • 1Department of Radiology and Research Institute of Radiology, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine
  • 2Department of Radiology, Yeouido St. Mary’s Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea
  • 3Department of Surgery, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 4Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


Although radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a safe treatment for thyroid tumors, nerve damage is a frequent complication. A previous retrospective study suggested that an injection of cold 5% dextrose in water (5% DW) can reduce nerve damage during RFA. This study validated the efficacy of injecting cold 5% DW for management of nerve damage during RFA.
Between November 2017 and December 2018, 242 patients underwent 291 RFA sessions for treatment of benign thyroid nodules or recurrent thyroid cancers. Using a standardized technique, cold (0°C to 4°C) 5% DW was immediately injected around the damaged nerve into patients with any symptoms suggesting nerve damage. The incidence of nerve damage, the volume of 5% DW injected, symptom recovery time and the incidence of permanent nerve damage were evaluated.
Nineteen patients experienced nerve damage symptoms related to 21 RFA sessions, including 17 patients during 19 sessions and two patients on the day after two sessions. Patients with nerve damage symptoms detected during RFA were treated by injection of a mean 41 mL (range, 3 to 260) cold 5% DW, but the two patients who experienced symptoms the next day did not receive cold 5% DW injections. Immediate recovery was observed after 15 RFA sessions in 14 patients. No patient experienced permanent nerve damage.
Injection of cold 5% DW is effective in managing nerve damage during RFA of thyroid lesions.


Thyroid nodule; Radiofrequency ablation; Ultrasonography
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