A novel technique for prostate ablation using radiofrequency (RF) energy coupled to tissue with interstitial perfusion of saline solutions from a screw-tip catheter has been developed. The electrolyte spreads the current density away from the metal electrode and increases the effective electrode surface area, allowing more RF power input. This prevents tissue desiccation and impedance rise, resulting in controlled production of large lesions. In this study, we attempted to produce similar results using a straight needle and the saline electrode with a transurethral approach and compared the results with those of the same technique without electrolyte perfusion (conventional RF method). For this study, we designed an insulated 22-gauge needle with thermocouples embedded along its length and a 1-cm exposed tip with a retractable intraluminal thermocouple, This needle was inserted into the urethra of 10 dogs through a small perineal incision. Under transrectal ultrasound guidance, the exposed tip of the needle was placed in the center of each lobe. The intraluminal thermocouple was moved from the exposed tip up to the prostate capsule to monitor temperature. The highest power that could be applied in conventional RF methods without immediate desiccation was determined from prelimary experiments as 10 W. Subsequently, 10 W of RF power (475 kHz) was delivered in one lobe until either the capsule temperature reached 48°C or high impedance (> 400 Ω) occurred. In the other lobe, 50 W of RF energy (475 kJHz) and electrolyte perfusion (14.6% NaCl, 1 mL/min) were delivered until the capsule temperature reached 48°C or high impedance occurred. Prostate lobe sizes ranged from 3.93 cm3 to 44.47 cm3 (mean 15.07 cm3), At 10 W without saline perfusion, high impedance from tissue desiccation occurred at 45 ± 27 seconds, with lesions ranging from 0.06 cm3 to 0.93 cm3 (mean 0.34 cm3). At 50 W with saline perfusion, there was no tissue desiccation or impedance rise. The RF application time averaged 181 ± 115 seconds until the capsule reached 48°C, resulting in lesions ranging from 2.53 cm3 to 22.88 cm3 (mean 8.54 cm3). This study demonstrates that transurethral ablation of the prostate with a saline electrode allows controlled production of larger lesions than conventional RF methods. This may permit a single RF application in each lobe to produce lesions effective for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia even in large glands.
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