Hepatic ablation using bipolar radiofrequency electrocautery

John P McGahan, Wei Zhong Gu, John M. Brock, Henry Tesluk, C. Darryl Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

175 Scopus citations


Rationale and Objectives. Percutaneous methods have been used to treat primary and secondary hepatic neoplasms. In the current study, we evaluated the potential of bipolar radiofrequency (RF) electrocautery to increase in vitro liver tissue destruction when compared with monopolar RF electrocautery. Methods. Two needles (electrodes) were placed into fresh bovine liver tissue for use with bipolar electrocautery. Needle tip exposure was kept constant at 3 cm while other parameters, including treatment time, power (wattage), interneedle distance, and needle tip temperature, were changed. Pathologic and histologic correlation was performed, and tissue necrosis was weighed in grams for individual parameters. Results. There was a minimal threshold of approximately 45°C where tissue coagulation occurred. Tissue coagulation increased the longer treatment went on. Increasing temperature, wattage, or both increased tissue coagulation such that necrosis was too rapid and char formation occurred, which prevented further coagulation. For all wattages and temperatures, there was increasing tissue necrosis with increasing needle separation, until a point at which further needle separation produced less tissue necrosis. Optimizing parameters allowed tissue coagulation of greater than 30 g. Conclusion. Bipolar RF electrocautery shows promise for increasing the tissue coagulation in fresh bovine liver compared with the previously described monopolar technique.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)418-422
Number of pages5
JournalAcademic Radiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1996


  • Liver
  • Neoplasms
  • Radiofrequency electrocautery
  • Tissue ablation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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