Background/aims: The aim was to investigate the effect of blood inflow occlusion on lesion size and ultrasonographic findings during interstitial laser thermotherapy of normal liver.
Methodology: Pigs were treated with or without hepatic inflow occlusion at a laser power of 3W or without inflow occlusion at 5 W (target temperature 43 degrees C). The thermotherapy system consisted of an Nd:YAG laser and a temperature feedback circuit. Ultrasonography was performed immediately after treatment. Lesion size was determined using light microscopy including immunohistochemistry with bromodeoxyuridine.
Results: Hyperechoic ultrasonographic changes were observed after treatment with inflow occlusion or when there was carbonization. If carbonization did not occur, unoccluded blood flow was associated with hypoechoic lesions. Following inflow occlusion, maximum lesion width 2 and 6 days after thermotherapy averaged 21.9 +/- 1.3 and 20.2 +/- 0.8 (means +/- SEM) mm, respectively. This was larger than the corresponding values of 10.8 +/- 0.8 and 11.1 +/- 2.0 observed after treatment without inflow occlusion at 3W (p < 0.01). Increase in laser power from 3 to 5W in experiments without inflow occlusion produced early carbonization and a slight increase in lesion size that did not match that produced by inflow occlusion. Ultrasound gave a correct prediction of necrosis size after treatment with inflow occlusion but overestimated the necrosis when inflow occlusion was not used. Ultrasound was furthermore unable to predict size of necrosis in individual experiments.
Conclusion: Blood flow has a major influence on lesion size in interstitial laser thermotherapy of the liver and affects ultrasonographic images. Also, it appears that intraoperative ultrasonography cannot monitor lesion size with an accuracy that is sufficient for clinical use.