Korean J Radiol.  2015 Dec;16(6):1226-1239. 10.3348/kjr.2015.16.6.1226.

Ultrasound-Guided Percutaneous Radiofrequency Ablation of Liver Tumors: How We Do It Safely and Completely

  • 1Department of Radiology, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju 61469, Korea. kjradsss@dreamwiz.com
  • 2Center for Aging and Geriatrics, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju 61469, Korea.
  • 3Department of Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Surgery, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju 61469, Korea.
  • 4Department of Internal Medicine, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju 61469, Korea.


Ultrasound-guided percutaneous radiofrequency (RF) ablation has become one of the most promising local cancer therapies for both resectable and nonresectable hepatic tumors. Although RF ablation is a safe and effective technique for the treatment of liver tumors, the outcome of treatment can be closely related to the location and shape of the tumors. There may be difficulties with RF ablation of tumors that are adjacent to large vessels or extrahepatic heat-vulnerable organs and tumors in the caudate lobe, possibly resulting in major complications or treatment failure. Thus, a number of strategies have been developed to overcome these challenges, which include artificial ascites, needle track ablation, fusion imaging guidance, parallel targeting, bypass targeting, etc. Operators need to use the right strategy in the right situation to avoid the possibility of complications and incomplete thermal tissue destruction; with the right strategy, RF ablation can be performed successfully, even for hepatic tumors in high-risk locations. This article offers technical strategies that can be used to effectively perform RF ablation as well as to minimize possible complications related to the procedure with representative cases and schematic illustrations.


Radiofrequency ablation; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Liver tumors; Ablative margin; Complications

MeSH Terms

Bile Duct Diseases/etiology
Carcinoma, Hepatocellular/*surgery/ultrasonography
Catheter Ablation/adverse effects
Liver Neoplasms/*surgery/ultrasonography
Neoplasm, Residual/etiology
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