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J Vasc Interv Radiol. 2019 Sep;30(9):1496-1503. doi: 10.1016/j.jvir.2019.01.030. Epub 2019 May 18.

Dual-Energy CT Monitoring of Cryoablation Zone Growth in the Spinal Column and Bony Pelvis: A Laboratory Study.

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Department of Radiology, Mayo Clinic, 200 1st Street, SW, Rochester, MN 55905.
Department of Radiology, Mayo Clinic, 200 1st Street, SW, Rochester, MN 55905. Electronic address:



To evaluate the use of dual-energy computed tomography (CT) virtual noncalcium imaging (VNCa) to visualize ice ball growth during skeletal cryoablation procedures in the spine and bony pelvis.


Cryoablation was performed in the spine and bony pelvis of swine and human cadavers at 5 and 6 locations, respectively. CT scans were acquired every 2 minutes using a dual-source dual-energy scanner. Artifacts were suppressed using iterative metal artifact reduction, and ablation zones in the bones and surrounding tissue were visualized using multiplanar VNCa and mixed kV imaging. For each probe location and time point, ice detectability was determined and the volume of the ice was measured.


At each location, ice was visualized within the bone before reaching critical neural and intraabdominal structures. Within bone, the ice ball could not be visualized on mixed kV images, but was seen using VNCa images before reaching the adjacent soft tissue in 7/11 (64%) scenarios. Volume of the smallest ice ball seen in VNCa images was 18% of the final volume after cryoablation compared with 42% for mixed kV (P = .014).


This application of dual-energy CT and VNCa imaging to cryoablation monitoring permits earlier ice visualization within the vertebral column and pelvic bones in near real time. Because these scanners and imaging techniques increase in availability in interventional suites, cryoablation of tumors along the spine and pelvic bone potentially could be performed with greater confidence.


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