Complications of microwave ablation for liver tumors: Results of a multicenter study

Tito Livraghi, Franca Meloni, Luigi Solbiati, Giorgio Zanus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose New technologies for microwave ablation (MWA) have been conceived, designed to achieve larger areas of necrosis compared with radiofrequency ablation (RFA). The purpose of this study was to report complications by using this technique in patients with focal liver cancer. Methods Members of 14 Italian centers used a 2.45- GMHz generator delivering energy through a cooled miniature- choke MW antenna and a standardized protocol for follow-up. They completed a questionnaire regarding number and type of deaths, major and minor complications and side effects, and likelihood of their relationship to the procedure. Enrollment included 736 patients with 1.037 lesions: 522 had hepatocellular carcinoma with cirrhosis, 187 had metastases predominantly from colorectal cancer, and 27 had cholangiocellular carcinoma. Tumor size ranged from 0.5 to 10 cm. In 13 centers, the approach used was percutaneous, in 4 videolaparoscopic, and in 3 laparotomic. Results No deaths were reported. Major complications occurred in 22 cases (2.9%), and minor complications in 54 patients (7.3%). Complications of MWA do not differ from those RFA, both being based on the heat damage. Conclusion Results of this multicenter study confirmed those of single-center experiences, indicating that MWA is a safe procedure, with no mortality and a low rate of major complications. The low rate of complications was probably due to precautions adopted, knowing in advance possible risk conditions, on the basis of prior RFA experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)868-874
Number of pages7
JournalCardioVascular and Interventional Radiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012


  • Hepatocellular carcinoma, therapy
  • Liver metastases, therapy
  • Microwave ablation, complications
  • Microwave ablation, treatment
  • Minimally invasive procedures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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