Purpose: To evaluate the safety and technical success rate of percutaneous fiducial marker implantation in preparation for image-guided radiation therapy.
Materials and methods: From January 2003 to January 2008, we retrospectively reviewed 139 percutaneous fiducial marker implantations in 132 patients. Of the 139 implantations, 44 were in the lung, 61 were in the pancreas, and 34 were in the liver. Procedure-related major and minor complications were documented. Technical success was defined as implantation enabling adequate treatment planning and computed tomographic simulation.
Results: The major and minor complication rates were 5% and 17.3%, respectively. Pneumothorax after lung implantation was the most common complication. Pneumothoraces were seen in 20 of the 44 lung implantations (45%); a chest tube was required in only seven of the 44 lung transplantations (16%). Of the 139 implantations, 133 were successful; in six implantations (4.3%) the fiducial markers migrated and required additional procedures or alternate methods of implantation.
Conclusions: Percutaneous implantation of fiducial marker is a safe and effective procedure with risks that are similar to those of conventional percutaneous organ biopsy.