April 20, 2009

Complications of Radiofrequency Ablation of Liver Tumors

Complications of RFA

  1. Vascular
  2. Biliary
  3. Extrahepatic

Major complication = those that if left untreated will threaten patient's life, causing substantial morbidity and disability, resulting in hospital admission or lengthen the hospital stay

Frequency of Complications
  • 4% per complete treatment or 1.9% per treatment session (Major)
  • 1.7% per complete treatment or 0.8% per treatment session (Minor)
  • In a series of 1000 patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, tumor seeding was the most common complication (1.5%), followed by liver abscess (0.7%), biloma (0.7%), portal vein thrombosis (0.4%) and bleeding requiring blood transfusion (0.4%).
Image Credit:

Akahane M, Koga H, Kato N, et al. Complications of percutaneous radiofrequency ablation for hepatocellular carcinoma: imaging spectrum and management. Radiographics 2005; 25:S57-S68.

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