Stereotactic percutaneous ablation is a rapidly advancing modality for treatment of tumors in soft solid organs such as the liver. Each year, there are about 850,000 cases of primary liver cancer worldwide. Although surgical resection still is the gold standard for most cases, only 20–30% of patients are candidates for it, due to the advanced stage of the disease. Surgery can also be a huge burden to the patient and his/her quality of life might be temporarily severely reduced due to long hospital stays, complications, and slow recovery. To overcome these disadvantages, thermo-ablation of tumors of up to 3 cm has become a more viable alternative especially in the last decade, offering a potentially equally effective but minimally invasive and tissue sparing treatment alternative. In conjunction with improved CT imaging, stereotactic image-guidance techniques and image fusion technology were introduced to increase safety, efficacy, and accuracy of this treatment. Stereotactic image-guidance leads to a simple, fast, and accurate placement of the ablation probe into the liver tumor, which is a prerequisite for a complete destruction of the tumor by ablation. More and more physicians, including surgeons, consider ablation a viable alternative to resection whenever feasible. Patients undergoing such a minimally invasive treatment benefit from a shorter hospital stays, reduced complication rates, and faster recovery.
Part of the book: Liver Pathology