Thermal ablation of lung tissue: In vivo experimental comparison of microwave and radiofrequency

Laura Crocetti, Elena Bozzi, Pinuccia Faviana, Dania Cioni, Clotilde Della Pina, Alberto Sbrana, Gabriella Fontanini, Riccardo Lencioni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


This study was designed to compare feasibility, safety, and effectiveness of microwave (MW) ablation versus radiofrequency (RF) ablation of lung tissue in a rabbit model. Twenty New Zealand White rabbits were submitted to MW (n = 10, group A) or RF ablation (n = 10, group B). The procedures were performed with a prototype MW ablation device with a 1.6-cm radiating section antenna (Valleylab MW Ablation System) and with a 2-cm exposed-tip RF electrode (Cool-tip RF Ablation System). At immediate computed tomography increase in density, maximum diameters (D1-D3) of ablation zones were measured and ablation volume was calculated. Histopathologic assessment was performed 3 and 7 days after the procedure. Technical success was achieved in nine of 10 rabbits in each group. One death occurred in group B. Complications included pneumothorax (group A, n = 4; group B, n = 4), abscess (group A, n = 1; group B, n = 1), and thoracic wall burn (group A, n = 4). No significant differences were demonstrated in attenuation increase (P = 0.73), dimensions (P = 0.28, 0.86, 0.06, respectively, comparing D1-D3) and volume (P = 0.17). At histopathology, ablation zones were similar, with septal necrosis, edema, hemorrhage, and peripheral lymphocytic infiltrate. Complete thrombosis of more than 90% of vessels up to 2 mm in diameter was depicted at the periphery of the ablation zone in group A specimens. In group B specimens, complete thrombosis was depicted in 20% of vessels. Feasibility and safety of MW and RF ablation are similar in a lung rabbit model. MW ablation produces a greater damage to peripheral small vessels inducing thrombosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)818-827
Number of pages10
JournalCardioVascular and Interventional Radiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2010


  • Interventional Radiology
  • Lung neoplasm
  • Microwave ablation
  • Radiofrequency ablation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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