Percutaneous Liver Tumour Ablation: Image Guidance, Endpoint Assessment, and Quality Control

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Liver tumour ablation nowadays represents a routine treatment option for patients with primary and secondary liver tumours. Radiofrequency ablation and microwave ablation are the most widely adopted methods, although novel techniques, such as irreversible electroporation, are quickly working their way up. The percutaneous approach is rapidly gaining popularity because of its minimally invasive character, low complication rate, good efficacy rate, and repeatability. However, matched to partial hepatectomy and open ablations, the issue of ablation site recurrences remains unresolved and necessitates further improvement. For percutaneous liver tumour ablation, several real-time imaging modalities are available to improve tumour visibility, detect surrounding critical structures, guide applicators, monitor treatment effect, and, if necessary, adapt or repeat energy delivery. Known predictors for success are tumour size, location, lesion conspicuity, tumour-free margin, and operator experience. The implementation of reliable endpoints to assess treatment efficacy allows for completion-procedures, either within the same session or within a couple of weeks after the procedure. Although the effect on overall survival may be trivial, (local) progression-free survival will indisputably improve with the implementation of reliable endpoints. This article reviews the available needle navigation techniques, evaluates potential treatment endpoints, and proposes an algorithm for quality control after the procedure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-62
JournalCanadian Association of Radiologists Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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