Cryosurgery for unresectable primary hepatocellular carcinoma: a case report and review of literature

Am Surg. 1999 May;65(5):402-5.


Primary liver cancers are a significant cause of both morbidity and mortality. Although surgical resection remains the treatment of choice for these tumors, only 10 to 20 per cent of the primary liver tumors are found to be resectable. Presently, the options for these patients include liver transplantation, cryosurgery, or nonsurgical therapy, such as transarterial chemoembolization. Techniques such as alcohol injection, interstitial radiotherapy, laser hypothermia, and radiofrequency electrodissection have all been attempted with limited success. We present a case of a 68-year-old woman with a 10-year history of liver cirrhosis secondary to chronic active hepatitis C. A lateral segmentectomy was recommended but could not be done due to severe underlying cirrhosis. Cryosurgery aided by intraoperative ultrasonography was performed successfully. The patient developed recurrent disease at 58 months and died with disease at 62 months. Advances in instrumentation and intraoperative ultrasonography are making cryosurgery a viable surgical therapeutic alternative in the management of patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma. The procedure can be performed safely with low morbidity.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / surgery*
  • Cryosurgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Monitoring, Intraoperative
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Ultrasonography / methods