A radiofrequency device for tract ablation after liver biopsy: a single-institution human feasibility study

Br J Radiol. 2018 May;91(1085):20170585. doi: 10.1259/bjr.20170585. Epub 2018 Mar 8.


Objective: The need for liver biopsy has been increasing because genetic testing of specimens has become important for determining prognosis and management in patients with hepatic malignancy. We evaluated the feasibility of a device for biopsy tract ablation in patients with hepatic masses.

Methods: This prospective single-center pilot study was approved by our institutional review board and patients provided written informed consent. Between September 2015 and March 2016, 10 patients (6 males and 4 females, 35-66-years-old) who had hepatic masses and normal range of platelet count and prothrombin time were enrolled. After percutaneous ultrasound-guided biopsy, the biopsy tract was ablated with the device which consists of an insulation sheath and a radiofrequency applicator. Complications were evaluated with Doppler ultrasound immediately after the biopsy, with noncontrast abdominopelvic CT the day after the biopsy, and with a telephone interview 7 days after the biopsy.

Results: Tract ablation did not cause any pain in seven patients and caused minimal pain in three3 patients. Tract ablation was performed for a mean of 4.8 s (range, 4-6 s). No adverse events occurred during the procedure. Bleeding through the biopsy tract was not apparent on Doppler ultrasound, and abnormal fluid was not detected in the abdominal cavity on CT. Procedure-related complications were not reported on telephone interview.

Conclusion: Biopsy tract ablation with the device is technically feasible. If the device is used appropriately considering its potential advantages, it may help to reduce the risk of complications associated with liver biopsy. Advances in knowledge: It is technically feasible to perform biopsy tract ablation with the radiofrequency ablation device after liver biopsy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Catheter Ablation / instrumentation*
  • Catheter Ablation / methods*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image-Guided Biopsy
  • Liver / pathology*
  • Liver / surgery*
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional