What is the role of MRI in the postprocedural follow-up of 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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Unenhanced or contrast-enhanced MRI can be used after RFA. A T1-weighted postcontrast study is more useful than the unenhanced study and is a valuable alternative to CECT. [64]

Successful ablation is denoted by no enhancement and a low signal on T2-weighted images, though increased signal on T2-weighted images does not always represent residual tumor. [65]

A study showed that MRI may have an advantage over CT in detecting early regrowth. [66] In this study, two of nine local regrowths were depicted only on T2-weighted images, suggesting that MRI is a more useful sequence.

Although equally efficacious in comparison to a good CECT study, MRI is mostly used as a post-RFA problem-solving tool at present. Some studies have suggested possible use of diffusion-weighted MRI for evaluating effective treatment and recurrence. [67]

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