Surgical Endoscopy

, Volume 32, Issue 6, pp 2808–2813 | Cite as

Ex vivo human bile duct radiofrequency ablation with a bipolar catheter

  • Mustafa Atar
  • Abdurrahman Kadayifci
  • Ebubekir Daglilar
  • Catherine Hagen
  • Carlos Fernandez-del Castillo
  • William R. Brugge



Management of the primary and secondary tumors of the bile ducts still remains as a major clinical challenge. Radiofrequency (RF) ablation (RFA) of these tumors is feasible but the effect of RF energy on the human common bile duct (CBD) and surrounding tissues has not been investigated. This pilot study aimed to determine the relationship between RF energy and the depth of ablation in the normal human CBD.


The study was performed on fresh ex vivo human biliary–pancreatic tissue which had been resected for a pancreatic cyst or mass. The study was conducted within 15 min after resection. A bipolar Habib RFA catheter was placed into the middle of the intact CBD, and three different (5, 7, 10 W) power settings were applied over a 90-s period by an RF generator. Gross and histological examinations were performed. The depth of coagulation necrosis in CBD and the effect of RFA on CBD wall and surrounding pancreas tissue were determined by microscopic examination.


The study included eight tissue samples. 5 W power was applied to three sites and RFA caused only focal epithelial necrosis limited to the CBD mucosa. 7 and 10 W were applied to five sites and coagulation necrosis occurred in all cases. Microscopically, necrosis was transmural, involved accessory bile duct glands, and extended to the surrounding pancreatic tissue in four of these cases. Macroscopically, RFA resulted in circumferential white-yellowish color change extending approximately 2 cm of the CBD.


Bipolar RF energy application with 5 W resulted in limited ablation on CBD wall. However, 7 and 10 W generated tissue necrosis which extended through the CBD wall and into surrounding pancreas tissue. Endoscopic biliary RFA is an effective technique for local biliary tissue ablation but the use of high energy may injure surrounding tissue.


Radiofrequency ablation Biliary tumors Common bile duct Pancreas Bipolar catheter 


Compliance with ethical standards


Abdurrahman Kadayifci, Mustafa Atar, Ebubekir Daglilar, Catherine Hagen, Carlos Fernandez-del Castillo, and William R. Brugge have no conflict of interest or financial ties to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Gastroenterology, Massachusetts General HospitalHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Unit of GastroenterologyReyap Istanbul HospitalIstanbulTurkey
  3. 3.Department of Pathology, Massachusetts General HospitalHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  4. 4.Department of PathologyMedical College of WisconsinMilwaukeeUSA
  5. 5.Department of Surgery, Massachusetts General HospitalHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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