Indications for hand-assisted laparoscopic radiofrequency ablation for liver tumors

Guido Schumacher, Robert Eisele, Antonino Spinelli, Sven Christian Schmidt, Dietmar Jacob, Johann Pratschke, Peter Neuhaus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Radiofrequency ablation has established itself as the preferred treatment for irresectable liver tumors. It can be performed either percutaneously, laparoscopically, or by open surgery. The choice of approach depends on the patient and tamor-related variables. The laparoscopic approach appears to be the safest and most effective method for small tumors on the liver surface. It also provides additional information on the intrahepatic tumor burden with the use of intraoperative ultrasound and staging laparoscopy. Furthermore, the pneumoperitoneum reduces the flow of the portal vein and increases the efficacy of the ablation. Depending on the location of the tumor, mobilization of the liver or lysis of adhesions from previous surgery can require open surgery. Our aim was to study the combined use of laparoscopy and laparotomy by using hand-assisted laparoscopic radiofrequency ablation. Materials and Methods: We performed hand-assisted laparoscopy to ablate nine tumors in seven patients, enabling us to combine most of the advantages of laparoscopy and open surgery. The radiofrequency ablation was technically simple to perform. A laparoscopy of the entire abdominal cavity and a thorough examination of the entire liver via ultrasound was also performed. Results: The electrode was accurately placed in all patients. In four patients, a complete mobilization of the right lobe was performed to obtain the easiest possible access to the tumor. In three patients, severe adhesions from previous surgeries were removed prior to insertion of the laparoscopic tools. The ablation was completed safely and successfully in all patients. Conclusion: Our overall impression of the hand-assisted laparoscopic approach is that it seems to have a major advantage in comparison with simple laparoscopy, specifically for adhesions from previous surgeries and when the right liver lobe requires mobilization. Also, needle placement seems to be far more accurate than with simple laparoscopy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-159
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Laparoendoscopic and Advanced Surgical Techniques
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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