Computer-supported Planning, Guidance and Assessment of Abdominal Radiofrequency Ablations (RFA)

Felix Ritter


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Within recent years, radiofrequency ablation (RFA) has become a serious alternative to surgical resection of small and medium-sized abdominal tumors. The assessment of treatment results is difficult but the key to establish guidelines and standards for the application of radiofrequency. It is the basis to compare different treatments. Thorough planning and guidance help minimizing the risk of under-ablation thus reducing the recurrency rate.

Being part of the VICORA research network, the MeVis research center Bremen is developing the software assistant MeVisSAFIR that supports the important steps in tumor ablation: Planning, Guidance, and Assessment. Considering the clinical time constraints, the whole software has been optimized to balance the ratio between interaction time and benefit for the physician. Hence, an automatic quantification of the tumor volume as well as the calculation and 3D-visualization of the maximum diameter supplement the one-click segmentation of liver metastasis. The placement of different applicator probes enables the physician to test different trajectories and allows the software to simulate the thermal destruction of liver parenchyma. The chosen trajectory can be transferred to a guidance system in situ. By registering and overlaying pre- and post-interventional image data a simple quantification and evaluation of treatment results is possible.

Early design study showing the simulation of heat distribution caused by the RF current