Tracheal necrosis following thyroid radiofrequency ablation
A 60 year-old female patient underwent percutaneous radiofrequency ablation of an unesthetic benign isthmic thyroid nodule. The procedure was performed with a cooled electrode, using the “moving shot” technique on a trans-isthmic approach, under general anesthesia. Postoperative course was complicated by dysphonia and cervical pain implicating a third-degree skin burn of the medial cervical region progressing to severe soft-tissue and cervical tracheal necrosis.
Risk factors in the present case included the general anesthesia, isthmic location and thyroid nodule volume. To avoid this kind of complication, the procedure should be performed under local anesthesia, using cooled dextrose solution hydrodissection between trachea, thyroid and skin. Ahead of radiofrequency ablation, patients should be informed of possible major complications, especially if the indication is cosmetic.