Radio-frequency tissue ablation in liver trauma: an experimental study

Am Surg. 2004 Nov;70(11):989-93.


The liver is the most frequently injured intra-abdominal organ. Radio-frequency tissue ablation (RFA) with cooled tip electrodes is here experimentally used for the treatment of liver trauma. A grade III and a grade III to IV trauma each were produced in the livers of 10 domestic pigs. RFA was applied around the sites of injury until hemostasis was achieved. The animals were sacrificed at 0, 3, 7, 14, and 21 days and examined. The livers were subjected to histologic and radiologic examination. Two similar traumas were created in the livers of two more animals and were left surgically untreated as a control group. The two untreated animals died immediately postoperatively, proving the severity of the injuries. Hemostasis was achieved in all treated animals. Mortality and morbidity were zero. No blood, pus, bile, or other fluid was found in the abdomen at sacrifice. A three-zone pattern of lesion was recognized around the electrode placement at histology. RFA is an efficient and safe hemostatic method for grade III and grade III to IV hepatic trauma. Further studies are required for its use in humans.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Catheter Ablation*
  • Hemorrhage / prevention & control
  • Liver / injuries*
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver / surgery*
  • Male
  • Swine
  • Wounds and Injuries / physiopathology