Real-Time US-CT/MRI Image Fusion for Guidance of Thermal Ablation of Liver Tumors Undetectable with US: Results in 295 Cases

Giovanni Mauri, Luca Cova, Stefano De Beni, Tiziana Ierace, Tania Tondolo, Anna Cerri, S. Nahum Goldberg, Luigi Solbiati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This study was designed to assess feasibility of US-CT/MRI fusion-guided ablation in liver tumors undetectable with US. Methods: From 2002 to 2012, 295 tumors (162 HCCs and 133 metastases; mean diameter 1.3 ± 0.6 cm, range 0.5–2.5 cm) detectable on contrast-enhanced CT/MRI, but completely undetectable with unenhanced US and either totally undetectable or incompletely conspicuous with contrast-enhanced US (CEUS), were treated in 215 sessions using either internally cooled radiofrequency or microwave with standard ablation protocols, guided by an image fusion system (Virtual Navigation System, Esaote S.p.A., Genova, Italy) that combines US with CT/ MRI images. Correct targeting and successful ablation of tumor were verified after 24 hours with CT or MRI. Results: A total of 282 of 295 (95.6 %) tumors were correctly targeted with successful ablation achieved in 266 of 295 (90.2 %). Sixteen of 295 (5.4 %) tumors were correctly targeted, but unsuccessfully ablated, and 13 of 295 (4.4 %) tumors were unsuccessfully ablated due to inaccurate targeting. There were no perioperative deaths. Major complications were observed in 2 of the 215 treatments sessions (0.9 %). Conclusions: Real-time virtual navigation system with US-CT/MRI fusion imaging is precise for targeting and achieving successful ablation of target tumors undetectable with US alone. Therefore, a larger population could benefit from ultrasound guided ablation procedures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-151
Number of pages9
JournalCardioVascular and Interventional Radiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 8 2014


  • Image fusion
  • Liver malignancies
  • Percutaneous thermal ablation
  • Real-time virtual navigation
  • Ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Medicine(all)


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