Background: Needle-tract implantation is an important complication of cutting biopsy of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). This study was performed to evaluate the frequency of needle-tract implantation after ultrasound (US)-guided percutaneous biopsy of HCC and to describe triple-phase helical computed tomographic (CT) findings of implanted nodules.
Methods: Between April 1994 and December 1997, 205 patients underwent US-guided percutaneous biopsy for HCC. Review of medical records and the pathology database disclosed seven patients who were found to have needle-tract implantation of HCC. Among these patients, five underwent triple-phase helical CT examination. We analyzed the frequency of needle-tract implantation and triple-phase helical CT findings of implanted nodules, with particular attention to the morphology and enhancement pattern.
Results: Seven of 205 patients (3.4%) had tumor implantation along the needle tract at histologic examination after surgical resection. Eight implanted nodules in five patients were found on triple-phase helical CT images (one nodule in three patients, two nodules in one patient, and three nodules in one patient). All implanted nodules has well-circumscribed margins and were ovoid or lobulated in contour. On triple-phase helical CT, six (75%) implanted nodules were isodense compared with abdominal wall muscle on all triple-phase CTs, and two (25%) nodules were hyperdense on hepatic arterial and portal venous phases and isodense on equilibrium phase.
Conclusions: The frequency of needle-tract implantation of HCC after percutaneous needle biopsy was higher than reported previously, and careful attention should be paid during interpretation of CT images in patients with a history of previous percutaneous biopsy.