Radiofrequency ablation of small liver malignancies under magnetic resonance guidance: progress in targeting and preliminary observations with temperature monitoring

Eur Radiol. 2010 Apr;20(4):886-97. doi: 10.1007/s00330-009-1611-3. Epub 2009 Sep 16.


Objectives: To evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of magnetic resonance (MR)-guided radiofrequency (RF) ablation for small liver tumours with poor conspicuity on both contrast-enhanced ultrasonography (US) and computed tomography (CT), using fast navigation and temperature monitoring.

Methods: Sixteen malignant liver nodules (long-axis diameter, 0.6-2.4 cm) were treated with multipolar RF ablation on a 1.5-T wide-bore MR system in ten patients. Targeting was performed interactively, using a fast steady-state free precession sequence. Real-time MR-based temperature mapping was performed, using gradient echo-echo planar imaging (GRE-EPI) and hardware filtering. MR-specific treatment data were recorded. The mean follow-up time was 19 +/- 7 months.

Results: Correct placement of RF electrodes was obtained in all procedures (image update, <500 ms; mean targeting time, 21 +/- 11 min). MR thermometry was available for 14 of 16 nodules (88%) with an accuracy of 1.6 degrees C in a non-heated region. No correlation was found between the size of the lethal thermal dose and the ablation zone at follow-up imaging. The primary and secondary effectiveness rates were 100% and 91%, respectively.

Conclusions: RF ablation of small liver tumours can be planned, targeted, monitored and controlled with MR imaging within acceptable procedure times. Temperature mapping is technically feasible, but the clinical benefit remains to be proven.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Hepatectomy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Surgery, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Thermography / methods*