Aim: To determine the feasibility of performing computed tomography (CT)-guided transpulmonary radiofrequency ablation (RFA) for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) located in the hepatic dome.
Methods: A total of seven patients with HCC comprising seven nodules located in the hepatic dome were treated from April 2004 to December 2004. CT-guided transpulmonary RFA was performed using a cool-tip type electrode (Radionics Company) based on a standardized energy protocol. All tumors located in the hepatic dome were not detectable by the usual ultrasound (US) methods. The lesion diameters ranged from 15 to 27 mm.
Results: RFA was technically feasible in all the patients. The puncture procedure was performed twice or less and the total average performance time was 40.6 min. Local tumor control was achieved in all the patients. The necrosis diameter ranged from 25 to 35 mm. The mean follow-up period was 9.6 (7-14 mo) mo. There was no local recurrence at the follow-up points. Pneumothorax requiring pleural drainage was the main complication, which was observed in two of the seven patients (28.6%). However, it improved with chest drainage tube, and the tube could be removed within 2-3 d. No other major complications were observed.
Conclusion: CT-guided puncture is useful for the treatment of tumors located in the hepatic dome which are hardly detectable by US, even though pneumothorax sometimes may occur as a complication. In the cases with adhesion in the pleura for which artificial pleural effusion methods are not appropriate, CT-guided RFA is thus considered to be an alternative treatment for HCC located in the hepatic dome.