Complications of percutaneous radiofrequency thermal ablation of primary and secondary lesions of the liver

Guido Poggi, Alberto Riccardi, Pietro Quaretti, Cristina Teragni, Angelo Delmonte, Alessio Amatu, Gaia Saini, Mauro Mazzucco, Antonio Bernardo, Raffaella Palumbo, Andrea Canto, Simone Bernieri, Giovanni Bernardo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hepatocellular carcinoma is one of the most common malignancies in the world, with the liver being the second most frequently involved organ in metastatic disease. Although the gold standard treatment for malignant liver disease is surgical resection, only few patients can undergo such an intervention. This explains the current great interest in various loco-regional therapies, of which radiofrequency thermal ablation (RFA) is the most common. To date, only a few studies have evaluated the complications associated with this treatment. The aim of this study was to determine the rate of complications, divided into major and minor, in patients treated with RFA. A total of 373 hepatic lesions in 250 patients were treated with 292 sessions of percutaneous ultrasound-guided RFA. According to our data, ten patients (4%) had major complications, twelve patients (4.8%) had minor complications, no deaths occurred. Around 30% of patients had a body temperature increase of up to 38°C. All complications, except one, were treated with non-surgical therapies. One patient with massive hemoperitoneum required surgery. In conclusion, percutaneous RFA is a loco-regional therapy associated with a low incidence of side-effects and a negligible risk of death.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2911-2916
Number of pages6
JournalAnticancer Research
Issue number4 C
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007


  • Adverse effects
  • Catheter ablation
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Interventional procedures
  • Liver neoplasm
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • RFA
  • Secondary lesions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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