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Surgery. 2001 Dec;130(6):971-7.

Radiofrequency ablation of regional recurrence from well-differentiated thyroid malignancy.

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Department of Diagnostic Imaging, Division of Endocrine Surgery and Pathology, Brown Medical School, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI 02903, USA.



Regional recurrence of well-differentiated thyroid cancer (WTC) is primarily detected with ultrasonography (US), and current treatment is surgical. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) has been used primarily for liver tumors as an alternative to a surgical procedure. We have applied RFA to a group of patients with locally recurrent WTC.


Eight patients underwent percutaneous RFA for biopsy-proven recurrent WTC in the neck (mean size, 2.4 cm; range, 0.8-4.0 cm) while under intravenous conscious sedation and with US guidance. The RF electrode was inserted into the site of recurrence and treated with the maximum allowable current for between 2 and 12 minutes. Follow-up consisted of US in 8 patients, thyroglobulin levels in 6 patients, biopsy in 4 patients, and surgical treatment in 2 patients.


All 8 patients with no bleeding or infectious complications were treated as outpatients. A minor skin burn and 1 vocal cord paralysis occurred. No recurrent disease at the treatment site was detected, with a mean follow-up of 10.3 months. Histological examination showed no evidence of a tumor in the treated lymph nodes in 6 patients. Follow-up US examinations showed disappearance of previously detected color Doppler flow, as well as mass shrinkage and internal cystic change, or both.


US-guided RFA is an exciting new treatment modality that appears to have a future role in treating locally recurrent WTC.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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