Development of Real-Time Internal Steam Pop Detection during Radiofrequency Ablation with a Radiofrequency Ablation Needle Integrated with a Temperature and Pressure Sensor

Radio-frequency ablation is an effective and minimally invasive method of treating intrahepatic liver cancer by generating heat using high frequency waves to burn a portion of the surrounding liver including liver cancer. Due to the heat generated during this time, the moisture in the tissue vaporizes and the pressure rises. And when the pressure rises excessively, the tissue is perforated with an explosion along with a popping sound.


If the tumor is completely ablated and popping occurs before coagulation necrosis occurs, theoretically, the remaining small malignant tumor cells can spread to the neighboring liver tissue, which can lead to early cancer recurrence and metastasis to the liver after radio-frequency ablation. Furthermore, depending on the location of the tumor on the liver, bleeding and tumor dissemination into the abdominal cavity may occur due to tissue burst during ablation.


The research team at the Department of Radiology at Samsung Medical Center succeeded in measuring the pressure change in real-time during radio-frequency ablation in animal experiments and actual hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients using improved needles with pressure and temperature sensors and successfully detected the pressure change when popping occurred.


Professor Cha, Dong Ik stated that this technology is expected to prevent excessive pressure rise during radio-frequency ablation and enable safer and more effective radio-frequency ablation.


This study was published in the renowned scientific journal, Advanced Science.