Percutaneous thermal ablation: how to protect the surrounding organs

Tech Vasc Interv Radiol. 2011 Sep;14(3):170-6. doi: 10.1053/j.tvir.2011.02.009.


A variety of thermal ablation techniques have been advocated for percutaneous tumor management. Although the above techniques are considered safe, they can be complicated with unintended thermal injury to the surrounding structures, with disastrous results. In the present article we report a number of different insulation techniques (hydrodissection, gas dissection and balloon interposition, warming/cooling systems) that can be applied. Emphasis is given to the procedure-related details, and we present the advantages and drawbacks of the insulation techniques. We also provide tips on avoiding painful skin burns when treating superficial lesions. Finally, we point out the interest of temperature monitoring and how it can be achieved (use of thermocouples, fiberoptic thermosensors, or direct magnetic resonance imaging temperature mapping). The above thermal insulation and temperature monitoring techniques can be applied alone or in combination. Familiarity with these techniques is essential to avoid major complications and to increase the indications of thermal ablation procedures.

MeSH terms

  • Ablation Techniques / adverse effects*
  • Ablation Techniques / methods*
  • Burns / etiology*
  • Burns / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Hyperthermia, Induced / adverse effects*
  • Hyperthermia, Induced / methods*