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Radiology. 2012 Jan;262(1):117-25. doi: 10.1148/radiol.11110475. Epub 2011 Nov 21.

US findings after irreversible electroporation ablation: radiologic-pathologic correlation.

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Department of Radiology, Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center, PO Box 12000, Jerusalem 91120, Israel.



To characterize ultrasonographic (US) findings after irreversible electroporation (IRE) to determine the utility of these findings in the accurate assessment of ablation margins.


The institutional animal care and use committee approved the study. IRE ablation (n = 58) was performed in vivo in 16 pig livers by using two 18-gauge electroporation electrodes with 2-cm tip exposure, 1.5- or 2.0-cm interelectrode spacing, and an electroporation generator. Energy deposition was applied at 2250-3000 V (pulse length, 50-100 μsec; pulse repetition, 50-100). Ablations were performed under US guidance. Images were obtained during ablation and at defined intervals from 1 minute to 2 hours after the procedure. Zones of ablation were determined at gross and histopathologic examination of samples obtained from animals sacrificed 2-3 hours after IRE. Dimensions of the histologic necrosis zone and US findings were compared and subjected to statistical analysis, including a Student t test and multiple linear regression.


Within 20-50 pulse repetitions of IRE energy, the ablation zone appeared as a hypoechoic area with well-demarcated margins. During the next 8-15 minutes, this zone decreased in size from 3.4 cm ± 0.5 to 2.5 cm ± 0.4 and became progressively more isoechoic. Subsequently, a peripheral hyperechoic rim measuring 2-7 mm (mean, 4 mm ± 1) surrounding the isoechoic zone developed 25-90 minutes (mean, 41 minutes ± 19) after IRE. The final length of the treatment zone, including the rim, increased to 3.3 cm ± 0.6. The final dimensions of the outer margin of this rim provided greatest accuracy (1.7 mm ± 0.2) and tightest correlation (r(2) = 0.89) with gross pathologic findings. Histologic examination demonstrated widened sinusoidal spaces that progressively filled with spatially distributed hemorrhagic infiltrate on a bed of hepatocytes with pyknotic nuclei throughout the treatment zone.


US findings in the acute period after IRE are dynamic and evolve. The ablation zone can be best predicted by measuring the external hyperechoic rim that forms 90-120 minutes after ablation. This rim is possibly attributable to evolving hemorrhagic infiltration via widened sinusoids.

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