Evaluation of a minimally invasive image-guided surgery system for hepatic ablation procedures

Surg Innov. 2014 Aug;21(4):419-26. doi: 10.1177/1553350613508019. Epub 2013 Nov 6.


Background: The Explorer Minimally Invasive Liver (MIL) system uses imaging to create a 3-dimensional model of the liver. Intraoperatively, the system displays the position of instruments relative to the virtual liver. A prospective clinical study compared it with intraoperative ultrasound (iUS) in laparoscopic liver ablations.

Methods: Patients undergoing ablations were accrued from 2 clinical sites. During the procedures, probes were positioned in the standard fashion using iUS. The position was synchronously recorded using the Explorer system. The distances from the probe tip to the tumor boundary and center were measured on the ultrasound image and in the corresponding virtual image captured by the Explorer system.

Results: Data were obtained on the placement of 47 ablation probes during 27 procedures. The absolute difference between iUS and the Explorer system for the probe tip to tumor boundary distance was 5.5 ± 5.6 mm, not a statistically significant difference. The absolute difference for probe tip to tumor center distance was 8.6 ± 7.0 mm, not statistically different from 5 mm.

Discussion: The initial clinical experience with the Explorer MIL system shows a strong correlation with iUS for the positioning of ablation probes. The Explorer MIL system is a promising tool to provide supplemental guidance information during laparoscopic liver ablation procedures.

Keywords: ablation; image-guided surgery; laparoscopic ultrasound; laparosopic liver surgery.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Catheter Ablation / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hepatectomy / instrumentation*
  • Hepatectomy / methods
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Care / methods
  • Laparoscopy / methods*
  • Liver Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Surgery, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler / methods*