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Focused liver ablation by cavitation in the rabbit: a potential new method of extracorporeal treatment.
  1. F Prat,
  2. J Y Chapelon,
  3. F Abou el Fadil,
  4. A Sibille,
  5. Y Theillière,
  6. T Ponchon,
  7. D Cathignol
  1. INSERM U 281, Lyon, France.


    A new device was used to achieve focused tissue ablation by shockwave induced cavitation. The device produced a half cycle of negative pressure followed by a shock wave, thus enhancing cavitation. Twenty eight New Zealand rabbits were treated. Therapeutic ultrasound was targeted at the centre of the liver under ultrasound guidance. The focal volume was scanned with a computer operated x-y-z micropositioner. The number and frequency of bursts as well as the distance between two x-y-z displacements were preselected. The relation of tissue ablation seen to preselected parameters, effects on surrounding tissues, biological side effects, and mode of healing were studied. Macroscopy, planimetry, and quantitative microscopy were used. Focused and homogeneous tissue ablation was achieved within well defined limits. Maximal tissue ablation was seen in the centre of the target. Liver surrounding the target remained unaffected. Lesions were made of a-cellular spots surrounded by disorganised rims of necrotic hepatocytes; 24 hours after treatment, the changes (mean (SEM)) in alanine transaminase and haemoglobin were +225 (36)% and -2.4 (2)% respectively. Serum transaminases, haemoglobinaemia, and packed cell volume were normal 21 days after treatment and the target area was replaced by a fibrous scar. It is concluded that ultrasound cavitation may achieve extracorporeal intrahepatic tissue ablation inside a predetermined target. This technique should now be tested in an animal hepatic tumour model.

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