Methods of monitoring thermal ablation of soft tissue tumors - A comprehensive review.
Thermal ablation is a form of hyperthermia in which oncologic control can be achieved by briefly inducing elevated temperatures, typically in the range 50-80°C, within a target tissue. Ablation modalities include high intensity focused ultrasound, radiofrequency ablation, microwave ablation, and laser interstitial thermal therapy which are all capable of generating confined zones of tissue destruction, resulting in fewer complications than conventional cancer therapies. Oncologic control is contingent upon achieving predefined coagulation zones; therefore, intraoperative assessment of treatment progress is highly desirable. Consequently, there is a growing interest in the development of ablation monitoring modalities. The first section of this review presents the mechanism of action and common applications of the primary ablation modalities. The following section outlines the state-of-the-art in thermal dosimetry which includes interstitial thermal probes and radiologic imaging. Both the physical mechanism of measurement and clinical or pre-clinical performance are discussed for each ablation modality. Thermal dosimetry must be coupled with a thermal damage model as outlined in Section 4. These models estimate cell death based on temperature-time history and are inherently tissue specific. In the absence of a reliable thermal model, the utility of thermal monitoring is greatly reduced. The final section of this review paper covers technologies that have been developed to directly assess tissue conditions. These approaches include visualization of non-perfused tissue with contrast-enhanced imaging, assessment of tissue mechanical properties using ultrasound and magnetic resonance elastography, and finally interrogation of tissue optical properties with interstitial probes. In summary, monitoring thermal ablation is critical for consistent clinical success and many promising technologies are under development but an optimal solution has yet to achieve widespread adoption.
Geoghegan, R; Ter Haar, G; Nightingale, K; Marks, L; Natarajan, S
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