OBJECTIVE. We evaluate the efficacy and safety of sonographically guided ethanol sclerotherapy for benign thyroid cysts. SUBJECTS AND METHODS. We examined 22 patients with benign thyroid cysts (13 complex cysts and nine pure cysts) confirmed by fine-needle aspiration biopsy. Sonographically guided aspiration of the cystic fluid was followed by instillation of absolute ethanol (99.9%) into the cystic cavity: the injected volume of ethanol was 40-100% of the volume of fluid aspirated. The procedure was performed every 1 or 3 months for one or two sessions (mean, 1.2 sessions). Follow-up sonography was performed 1-10 months after the final session, and we observed patients after ethanol sclerotherapy for complications. RESULTS. The initial volume of the cysts ranged from 3.5 to 42 ml. In 21 patients; the volume of the cyst decreased or the cyst was obliterated. The volume of the cyst was reduced by 50-99% in 13 patients and by 1-49% in six patients, and the cyst was obliterated in two patients. In one patient, the volume of the cyst increased. The volume of ethanol instilled was significantly correlated with the volume reduction rate of the cyst. There was a difference in the volume reduction rate between patients in whom 10 ml or more of initial volume was used and those in whom less than 10 ml of initial volume was used; that is, the volume reduction rate of the group with the initial cyst volume of more than 10 ml was higher than that of the other group. Important long- standing and severe complications were not observed. CONCLUSION. Sonographically guided ethanol sclerotherapy is a safe and effective tool for the therapy of benign thyroid cysts.