All the numerical models developed for radiofrequency ablation so far have ignored the possible effect of the cooling phase (just after radiofrequency power is switched off) on the dimensions of the coagulation zone. Our objective was thus to quantify the differences in the minor radius of the coagulation zone computed by including and ignoring the cooling phase. We built models of RF tumor ablation with 2 needle-like electrodes: a dry electrode (5 mm long and 17G in diameter) with a constant temperature protocol (70°C) and a cooled electrode (30 mm long and 17G in diameter) with a protocol of impedance control. We observed that the computed coagulation zone dimensions were always underestimated when the cooling phase was ignored. The mean values of the differences computed along the electrode axis were always lower than 0.15 mm for the dry electrode and 1.5 mm for the cooled electrode, which implied a value lower than 5% of the minor radius of the coagulation zone (which was 3 mm for the dry electrode and 30 mm for the cooled electrode). The underestimation was found to be dependent on the tissue characteristics: being more marked for higher values of specific heat and blood perfusion and less marked for higher values of thermal conductivity.
Keywords: ablation; radiofrequency heating; tumor ablation.
Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.