What is the multiple-array electrode technique for percutaneous radiofrequency ablation (RFA) of liver tumors?

Updated: Mar 30, 2021
  • Author: Badar Bin Bilal Shafi, MBBS, MRCP, FRCR, CCT, EBIR; Chief Editor: Kurt E Roberts, MD  more...
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Multiple curved, retractable electrodes are kept inside the needle until its tip is positioned within a tumor. When the needle tip is properly positioned, a plunger on the hub of the needle is advanced so that the electrodes extend from the tip. When fully extended, these electrodes resemble an open umbrella.

Multiple electrode tips of an expanding electrode are active. This results in more homogenous heat distribution within the tumor and creates a reproducible sphere of ablation every time. In addition to the more even distribution of heat, the expanding electrodes have other safety features. The hooks of the electrode are fixed within the liver tissue when deployed, so that no needle movement is possible during RFA. Also, no electrode cooling is required during ablation, making the procedure easier and quicker.

Multiple electrodes seem to be superior to single electrodes with respect to the local recurrence rate for tumors between 3 and 5 cm. [44]

An important advance in RF energy deposition was achieved with the development of internally cooled RF electrodes. These 14- to 18-gauge electrodes have an internal lumen through which chilled perfusate is circulated during RF application. [45]  By cooling the electrode tip during the application of RF energy, these electrodes prevent charring and vaporization and are capable of producing lesions of greater dimension, which assists in complete tumor destruction. This technique also enables greater generator power to be administered with less risk of tissue charring.

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