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1.  Development of a fine thermocouple-needle system for real-time feedback of thermal tumour ablation margin 
The British Journal of Radiology  2011;84(1008):1139-1141.
Thermal tumour ablation techniques such as radiofrequency (RF) ablation are applied for radical removal of local tumours as an easier, less invasive alternative to surgical resection. A serious drawback of thermal ablation, however, is that the ablation area cannot be accurately assessed during the procedure. To achieve real-time feedback and exact and safe ablation, a superfine thermocouple-needle system (TNS) comprising a 0.25-mm diameter thermocouple embedded in a 22-G, 15-cm-long needle was devised and efficacy was tested in vitro using porcine livers (n = 15) and in vivo using rabbit back muscles (n = 2) and livers (n = 3). A 17-gauge RF electrode with a 2 cm active tip was used for ablation. The TNS was inserted 1 cm from the active tip of the RF electrode and liver temperature around the electrode was measured concurrently. The RF current was cut off when the temperature reached 60°C or after 5 min at ≥50°C. Porcine livers and rabbit back muscles were then cut along a plane passing through the axes of the electrode and the TNS. In rabbit livers, contrast-enhanced CT was performed to evaluate ablation areas. Ablation areas in cut surfaces of porcine livers exhibited well-defined discoloured regions and the TNS tip precisely pinpointed the margin of the ablation area. Contrast-enhanced CT of rabbit livers showed the TNS tip accurately located at the margin of areas without contrast enhancement. These results indicate that the TNS can accurately show ablation margins and that placing the TNS tip at the intended ablation margin permits exact thermal ablation.
doi:10.1259/bjr/81796498
PMCID: PMC3473833  PMID: 21937618
2.  CT-guided radiofrequency liver tumour ablation: use of a two-step coaxial system with a fine guide needle wire unit for high-risk cases 
The British Journal of Radiology  2010;83(996):1077-1079.
Accurate radiofrequency (RF) needle targeting to liver lesions under CT guidance is technically difficult and generally requires multiple needle manipulations, which carries potential risk. This approach is hardly applicable for precariously located lesions or for patients who have difficulty holding their breath. The aim of this study was to develop a novel two-step coaxial system to facilitate CT-guided RF ablation in difficult cases. The study group comprised 11 patients with 12 hepatic lesions. The coaxial system consisted of two parts: a 21-gauge pencil-tip guide needle wire (GNW) unit comprising a 150-mm-long needle segment and a 250-mm-long wire segment; and a 140-mm-long outer cannula with its stylet, which accepts a 17-gauge RF electrode needle. The GNW was inserted until the route of the GNW was confirmed to be positioned correctly. The cannula with the stylet was then advanced along the GNW. Lesions were successfully accessed using the GNW, even in patients who could not hold their breath, and manipulation was feasible within the limited space of the CT gantry. The light GNW also facilitated step-by-step CT-guided angular manipulations, unlike heavy RF electrodes, which are unstable during hands-free use unless deeply inserted. Therefore, this system enabled sequential ablations of large tumours by ensuring three different routes in advance by using the GNW. Insertion of the cannula along the GNW was simple. In conclusion, the two-step coaxial system enabled CT-guided RF tumour ablation to be performed in cases conventionally contraindicated owing to high risk of serious complications.
doi:10.1259/bjr/21804442
PMCID: PMC3473614  PMID: 21088092

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