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HPB (Oxford). 2007;9(5):357-62. doi: 10.1080/13651820701646222.

Microwave ablation in a hepatic porcine model: correlation of CT and histopathologic findings.

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Department of Surgery, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.



Thermal ablative techniques have gained increasing popularity in recent years as safe and effective options for patients with unresectable solid malignancies. Microwave ablation has emerged as a relatively new technique with the promise of larger and faster burns without some of the limitations of radiofrequency ablation (RFA). Here we study a new microwave ablation device in a living porcine model using gross, histologic, and radiographic analysis.


The size and shape of ablated lesions were assessed using six pigs in a non-survival study. Liver tissue was ablated using 2, 4, and 8 min burns, in both peripheral and central locations, with and without vascular inflow occlusion. To characterize the post-ablation appearance, three additional pigs underwent several 4 min ablations each followed by serial computed tomography (CT) imaging at 7, 14, and 28 days postoperatively.


The 2 and 4 min ablations resulted in lesions that were similar in size, 33.5 cm(3) and 37.5 cm(3), respectively. Ablations lasting 8 min produced lesions that were significantly larger, 92.0 cm(3) on average. Proximity to hepatic vasculature and inflow occlusion did not significantly change lesion size or shape. In follow-up studies, CT imaging showed a gradual reduction in lesion volume over 28 days to 25-50% of the original volume.


Microwave ablation with a novel device results in consistently sized and shaped lesions. Importantly, we did not observe any significant heat-sink effect using this device, a major difference from RFA techniques. This system offers a viable alternative for creating fast, large ablation volumes for treatment in liver cancer.


ablation; cancer; hepatocellular; liver; metastatic; microwave; porcine; thermal

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