Radio-frequency (RF) ablation is a local and minimally invasive thermo-ablation technique for the treatment of tumor diseases. Especially in situations where a surgical resection or a chemotherapy is not possible due to the extent of the tumor or the general state of the patient, RF ablation offers an alternative and less invasive possibility of treatment. In our current research we focus on the RF ablation of hepatic tumors. Within this method, a probe which is connected to an electric generator, is placed inside the malignant lesion. When turning on the generator an electric current flows through the body and heats the tissue near the probe up to temperatures of more than 60 degrees. At such temperatures the proteins of the heated tissue coagulate and its cells die. The treatment is considered successful, if the volume of destroyed tissue completely contains the malignant lesion including a safety margin of 0.5 – 1cm comparable to R0 resections in liver surgery.
Our current investigation contains the improvement of the simulation model, and an optimization of the position and orientation of the RF probe. Moreover, an analysis of the sensitivity of the optimal probe placement with respect to uncertain tissue properties, and the development of a method for identifying patient individual tissue parameters are fields of our ongoing research.
Fig: Schematic of an RF generator with a connected bipolar probe.
Fig: Possible scenario of an RF ablation.