Thyroid nodule rupture after radiofrequency ablation: case report and literature review

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Frontiers in endocrinology






minimally invasive techniques; radiofrequency ablation; thermal ablation; thyroid nodule; thyroid nodule rupture


PURPOSE: Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is an effective and safe modality for the treatment of thyroid nodules. Nodule rupture is a major complication of RFA. There is little known on the natural history of nodule rupture due to a lack of clinical experience and no consensus on its management. A comprehensive review of nodule rupture presentation, diagnosis, and management is needed. METHODS: We report a case of nodule rupture and conduct a literature review. A total of 33 patients experiencing nodule rupture after RFA were included, and their clinical presentation, management, and outcomes were collected and analyzed. RESULTS: Nodule rupture presents with acute swelling (90.3%) and pain (77.4%) within 7 months of RFA procedure, most commonly due to disruption of the anterior thyroid capsule (87%), and can be diagnosed with ultrasonography. Most ruptures can be managed conservatively, exemplified by our reported case. There are no reported cases of long-term sequalae. CONCLUSION: Nodule rupture is the second most common major complication of RFA. Based on the available evidence, we propose a treatment algorithm for nodule rupture and recommendations for future data collection to address gaps in our understanding of rupture etiology and effective management.


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