The Role of a Curved Electrode with Controllable Direction in the Radiofrequency Ablation of Liver Tumors Behind Large Vessels

  • An-Na Jiang
  • Song Wang
  • Wei YangEmail author
  • Kun Zhao
  • Xiu-Mei Bai
  • Zhong-Yi Zhang
  • Wei Wu
  • Min-Hua Chen
  • Kun Yan
Laboratory Investigation



To investigate the role of a novel curved radiofrequency ablation (RFA) electrode with controllable direction in the ablation of tumors behind large hepatic vessels in ex vivo bovine and in vivo canine liver experiments.

Materials and Methods

Approval from the institutional animal care and use committee was obtained. In ex vivo experiments, conventional multi-tines expandable electrodes, conventional monopolar straight electrodes and novel curved electrodes were used in the ablation of the bovine liver (n = 90). The ablated area, parallel axis, vertical axis and shape of different electrodes were compared. Then, 24 beagle dogs (10 months old, female) were used for in vivo experiments. Visual tumor targets deeply located in the portal vein were established, and ultrasound-guided liver ablation was performed with different electrodes. The ablation range, target coverage rate, percentage of normal tissue injury and damage to adjacent vessels were evaluated. The Kruskal–Wallis test and the Chi-squared test were used for statistical analysis.


For the ex vivo study with a 3-cm electrode, the ablation area of the multi-tines expandable electrode group (7.14 ± 0.16 cm2) was significantly larger than that of the novel curved electrode group (5.01 ± 0.30 cm2, P < 0.001) and the monopolar straight electrode group (5.43 ± 0.15 cm2, P < 0.001). The results obtained with the 4-cm electrode in the three groups were in accordance with those of the 3-cm electrode. In vivo, the normal tissue damage area of the novel curved electrode group was smaller than that of the multi-tines expandable electrode group (1.10 ± 0.18 cm2 vs. 4.00 ± 0.18 cm2, P < 0.001). The target coverage rate of the novel curved electrode group was better than that of the monopolar straight electrode group (100% vs. 80.86 ± 1.68%, P < 0.001). The hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) and TUNEL staining results showed that the ablation necrosis area was adjacent to large vessels, but the vascular wall was not significantly damaged in the novel curved electrode group.


Our preliminary results showed that the novel curved RFA electrode with controllable direction could achieve accurate ablation for tumors behind large hepatic vessels, with a better target coverage rate and less damage to normal tissue, than conventional multi-tines expandable electrodes and monopolar straight electrodes.


Radiofrequency ablation Electrode Controllable direction Hepatic vessel Target coverage rate 



This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81773286) and the Capital Characteristic Clinical Application Foundation (No. Z161100000516061).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Standard

All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (Peking University, Cancer Hospital). All applicable institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.

Supplementary material

270_2019_2182_MOESM1_ESM.docx (467 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 466 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature and the Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society of Europe (CIRSE) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ultrasound, Key Laboratory of Carcinogenesis and Translational Research (Ministry of Education/Beijing)Peking University Cancer Hospital and InstituteBeijingChina

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