European Radiology

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 31–37

Radiofrequency thermal ablation with expandable needle of focal liver malignancies: complication report


DOI: 10.1007/s00330-003-1990-9

Cite this article as:
Buscarini, E. & Buscarini, L. Eur Radiol (2004) 14: 31. doi:10.1007/s00330-003-1990-9


The aim of this study was to describe type and rate of complications in a series of patients with liver tumors treated by the radiofrequency (RF) expandable system. A total of 166 patients, 114 with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC; 92 small HCC, 22 large) and 52 with liver metastasis, were treated by the percutaneous RF expandable system. In large HCCs, RF ablation was performed after tumor ischemia (TAE or balloon stop flow of the hepatic artery). Major complications were those that delayed hospital discharge, with or without additional medical procedures or treatments. Minor complications did not require an additional hospital stay. No deaths occurred. Among 151 patients followed, there were 7 (4.6%) early major complications—severe pain with session interruption in 3 cases, capsular necrosis in 1 case, 1 abdominal wall necrosis, 1 dorsal burning, 1 peritoneal hemorrhage—and 3 (1.9%) delayed major complications: sterile fluid collection at the site of the treated tumor in 2 cases and cutaneous seeding in 1 case. There were 49 (32.5%) minor complications. The complication rate is similar to that observed after percutaneous alcohol injection (PEI). With the cooled system, the complication rate is seemingly lower but that may well be due to a different definition of major complications. The seeding rate after expandable system ablation is lower than after PEI. It is the same as or lower than that in other series of patients treated by the cooled system.


Radiofrequency ablationHepatocellular carcinomaLiver metastasesComplications

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GastroenterologyGeneral HospitalCremaItaly
  2. 2.Department of GastroenterologyGeneral HospitalPiacenzaItaly