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Radiology. 2008 Mar;246(3):947-55. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2463070390. Epub 2008 Jan 14.

Complications of laser ablation for hepatocellular carcinoma: a multicenter study.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Maggiore Hospital, Largo B. Nigrisoli 2, 40133 Bologna, Italy.



To retrospectively and prospectively determine the rate and type of complications and their association with clinical or technical factors after percutaneous laser ablation (LA) for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).


The institutional research board of each center approved the study and all patients provided informed consent. By using an Internet liver tumor database of nine Italian centers, 520 patients were included with HCC nodules of any size (small, 0-3 cm; intermediate, >3-5 cm; large, >5 cm). Postprocedural complications were related to clinical or percutaneous LA factors by using the Student t and chi(2) tests. Follow-up was carried out with computed tomography (CT) at 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months, and primary effectiveness rate was defined as the percentage of HCCs completely ablated after percutaneous LA.


A total of 353 men and 147 women (age range, 24-86 years; Child-Pugh score A = 63.4%, B = 30.8%, C = 5.9%) with 647 nodules (mean diameter, 3.2 cm +/- 1.7) were treated by 1004 percutaneous LA sessions. There were four (0.8%) deaths in 520 patients; 15 (1.5%) of 1004 sessions presented major complications without any seeding. Major complications were associated with excess energy (10 520 J +/- 7073 vs 7474 J +/- 3803; P = .001) and high-risk location (P = .05). Sixty-two (6.2%) sessions resulted in minor complications associated with excess energy (P = .001), high bilirubin level (1.74 mg/dL +/- 1.10), and low prothrombin time (P = .01). Primary effectiveness rates were 60% in all HCCs and 81% in HCCs smaller than 3 cm.


Percutaneous LA may be considered a safe treatment for small HCCs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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